6 January 2014
Since the end of the Cold War, the promotion of democracy has increasingly come to be considered a matter of legitimate concern for the international community. In light of this, it seems pertinent to ask whether international law offers us a framework for understanding the shared obligations and responsibilities of the international community with respect to the democratic crisis currently taking place in Honduras.
The 2009 military coup in Honduras and its aftermath
It is a common story in the annals of Central and Latin American history. A military coup (reportedly backed by the United States) deposes a democratically elected President whose program of leftist social and economic reform has upset powerful elites. This is what happened in Honduras when, in the early hours of 28 June 2009, then President Manuel Zelaya was dragged from his bed by soldiers and, still in his pyjamas, taken to a nearby air force base and flown into exile. Since being elected in 2006 Zelaya had increased the minimum wage by 80%, introduced free education for all children and embarked upon a program of agrarian reforms, threatening the interests of the economic, political, military and religious oligarchy which had ruled Honduras since independence. (more…)