A friend of mine has been privately buffeting me with updates on Honduras, waging a one-person campaign to get me to comment here on what has happened there. So here goes.
Notice I used the phrase "change of government" in the title of this post. Not "coup" or "military coup". Former President Zelaya was removed by the military after his failure to abide by a ruling by the nation's Supreme Court. Zelaya was attempting to hold a Chavez-style national plebiscite on whether he could run for another term, something I am informed is unconstitutional according to Honduran law. Zelaya then tried to fire the Chief of Staff of the Army, a man with the temerity to ABIDE BY THE LAW and not support the conduct of the plebiscite. The Supreme Court then reinstated the General.
The Army's actions were backed by the legislature and the Supreme Court. While Latin America does have a history of military coups resulting in government by strongman, this action appears to be designed to actually strengthen the democratic nature of the government by removing one who would seek to impose tyranny. The new President--installed by the legislature according to the Honduran Constitution--promises elections in the near future.
Our president's reflexive impulse to condemn the change in government bespeaks an almost historical enslavement of thought--that because Latin American strongmen have in the past risen from military coups, this must be the same. And because the US had a hand in a few of those past instances, we must APPEAR to be on the side of the democratically elected chap who has been deposed. Never mind his movement to drive the country into a leftist dictatorship a la Chavez and his hero Castro.
President Obama's decision not to "meddle" in the Iranian election aftermath was a good one. He should have exercised the same judgement in this situation.