For a well-written analysis centering on whether Mel Zelaya's removal was a coup, check out Max Cameron's article at The Mark.
What is a coup? I suggest a method for discerning coups, based on the theory that “if it waddles like a duck, flaps like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.” Here are some of the quacks, flaps, and waddles that count as coups:I would disagree slightly, in that I would argue that a "coup" refers only to the actual removal of democratically elected officials. The conditions occurring after the removal are referring more to authoritarianism than to a coup per se.
- Arbitrary or illegal termination of the tenure in office of any democratically elected official by any other elected official.
- Arbitrary or illegal appointment, removal, or interference in the appointment or deliberations of members of the judiciary or electoral bodies.
- Interference by non-elected officials, such as military officers, in the jurisdiction of elected officials.
- Use of public office to silence, harass, or disrupt the normal and legal activities of members of the political opposition, the press, or civil society.
- Failure to hold elections that meet generally accepted international standards of freedom and fairness.
- Violation of the integrity of central institutions, including constitutional checks and balances providing for the separation of powers.
- Failure to hold periodic elections or to respect electoral outcomes.
- Systematic violation of basic freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, or respect for minority rights.
The coup in Honduras fulfills conditions 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8; and 5 is imminent. Let’s call a duck a duck.
Days since the coup: 110
Days until the scheduled presidential election: 44