Honduras, a tiny country whose internal political affairs would have been previously considered insignificant, has garnered an enormous amount of international attention since the ouster of President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya. On June 28, Honduran military troops forced the democratically elected leader onto a plane at gunpoint, flew him out of the country, and installed Roberto Micheletti, who was then head of the legislature, as the de facto executive.
The situation in Honduras remains extremely tense since the coup. The coup regime has shuttered two opposition media outlets, Radio Globo and Canal 36, and there has been a steady erosion of civil liberties. Human rights groups have attributed at least 10 deaths to coup crackdowns on civil society and to increased persecution since Zelaya sought refuge in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa on Sept. 21.
While Zelaya may have been a controversial figure, and the de facto regime has tried to argue that it is operating constitutionally and within the law, governments worldwide quickly and unanimously condemned the military’s violent expatriation of the democratically elected president. The dangerous precedent this sets for the rest of the Latin America countries, many with their own unpopular governments, has placed an enormous weight on the international community to respond.