A Twenty-First Century Coup: Honduras and United States During the 2009 Constitutional Crisis

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After months of political turmoil, on the morning of 28 June 2009, the Honduran president Manuel Zelaya Rosales awoke in his residence to members of the Honduran military sent to arrest him. In his effort to start a process to change the Honduran constitution, Manuel Zelaya overestimated the level of support for his initiatives and created a coalition of Honduran government institutions and civil groups opposed to him. This cost him the presidency and led to his exile. The ensuing efforts to resolve the constitutional crisis involved major diplomatic efforts on the part of the United States and the Organization of American States. This thesis examines both the internal and external factors involved in the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis, and the process leading to its resolution, with a particular focus on the diplomatic role of the United States. This thesis also examines the deterioration of the democratic order in regards to human and civil rights that took place under the governance of the de facto government. After Zelaya’s removal, the policy of the United States focused on the restoration of the democratic order in Honduras. This policy gradually shifted from the demand that Zelaya be returned to the presidency to an effort to move forward without his restitution by relying on the outcome of the previously scheduled November 2009 presidential election. Manuel Zelaya never returned to power, and the aftereffects of the events of 2009 continue to the present day.

History, Latin American