Abraham Lowenthal, a political scientist and long-time observer of U.S.-Latin American relations who is now at the University of Southern California, has a thought-provoking op-ed in the L.A. Times. His argument is that both liberals and conservatives in the United States have made the situation worse in Honduras, and have done so multiple times in the past as well:
What brings Honduras, and Central America more generally, back again and again to center stage in Washington debates on Latin America is not the strategic, security or economic importance of the region to the United States. On the contrary, it is precisely the minimal tangible significance of Central America to the United States in economic, political and military terms that allows U.S. policymakers of conflicting tendencies to indulge in grandstanding in framing policies toward that nearby and vulnerable region.
True enough. Where I disagree, however, is here:
Liberal activists inside and outside the Obama administration jumped at the opportunity to align the U.S. government against the forcible overthrow and deportation of President Manuel Zelaya. Many did so without knowing or caring much about Zelaya's erratic qualities, his interest in trying to prolong his term despite the Honduran constitutional ban on reelection or the considerable sentiment against him in the Honduran legislative and judicial branches.
One argument I've made over these past few months is that it doesn't matter if Zelaya was unpopular. We should not ever go down a slippery slope of justifying a coup just because a president was unpopular.
Overall, though, he has a good point. One reason why this crisis has been so prolonged is that people like Jim DeMint have given the coup government the confidence not to negotiate.
Days since the coup: 117
Days until the scheduled presidential election: 37