Last June, the Republic of Honduras was thrown into political crisis when then-President Manuel Zelaya was forced out of office – and the country – by a coup d'état. A de facto government was established, which justified the action saying the president had illegally tried to change the constitution to extend his term in office.
Honduras' neighbors, and indeed the United States along with much of the international community, reacted quickly to condemn the coup. Extensive international negotiations were conducted to resolve the dispute and restore constitutional order.
Much has happened since then. Internationally recognized elections were held in November to pick a new president, and the former president, who secretly entered the country seeking reinstatement and took refuge in the Embassy of Brazil, was allowed to peacefully leave again following the new president’s inauguration.
A truth commission is being established to determine what exactly happened before, during and after the coup and to recommend measures to prevent others in the future. The new president, Porfirio Lobo, is committed to reconciling his countrymen and addressing the sharp differences that divided the nation.
Some in the international community have responded as well. Convinced Honduras now is on the right track, the United States is moving to restore assistance suspended following President Zelaya's removal.
Other countries are normalizing relations too, though not all are as forgiving. Some Latin nations preferred to see the former president restored to power and appear to believe recognizing the new government will reward the coup leaders.
If their interests extend to the people of Honduras, these nations should reconsider their stand. President Lobo had no role in the coup – indeed, he was campaigning for president well before the event – and his election was free, fair and legitimate. The United States believes that it is time to move forward, not look back, and work to ensure that such disruptions of democracy in the Hemisphere do not happen in the future.