Nikil Saval in n + 1:
In nearly every respect, the coup in Honduras was an almost parodic recreation of the old, bad times of military dictatorships in the 60s and 70s, when coups swept nearly every country in Latin America. The story inevitably involved a president who threatened to undermine bourgeois (and thereby US) interests, however modestly, and thus signed away his life and liberty. Deposed President Manuel Zelaya, who in his administration's early stages might have seemed yet another empty elite candidate from his country's Liberal Party, moved slightly left under the pressure of social movements, raising the minimum wage and publicly speaking about badly needed agrarian reforms in his desperately poor country (the third poorest in the Western hemisphere, after Haiti and Nicaragua). Popular desire for more inclusion in the political process led to a non-binding “encuesta,” or poll, regarding the formation of a Constituent Assembly to reform the constitution, which, due to its inconsistencies and enshrinement of the old, wealthy landowning class, Costa Rican president Oscar Arias has called “the worst constitution in the world.”
Zelaya's moves towards greater reforms threatened the country's long-entrenched power elite. His modest fraternizing with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who provided subsidized oil to the country, suggested a hidden hand in the reforms (in fact, the result of national-popular, rather than foreign, pressure). When the coup came, the only surprise was that the US did not have a direct hand in supporting it. The indirect hand, however, like God in his universe, was everywhere visible.