Zelaya, a protege of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, was a would-be dictator. It was obvious that the Obama administration was backing a thug but thanks to cables released by Wikileaks, the why can be more clearly sustantiated.
Via Wall Street Journal:
Lots of hypotheses have been floated to explain why the Obama administration went to such extremes last year to try to force Honduras to reinstate deposed president Manuel Zelaya.Obama allied with the hard left? Say it ain't so!
Now the release of two WikiLeaked cables from the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa strengthens one of those theories: that the U.S. knew Mr. Zelaya was a threat to democratic Honduras but had decided the country should tolerate his constitutional violations in the interest of realpolitik.
Practically speaking, Hugo Chávez was the man to please. After a decade in power, the president of Venezuela's influence around the region was notable. George W. Bush had clashed with him. Barack Obama was out to prove that they could get along, as evidenced by the warm handshake at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain in April 2009.
Honduras offered a bonding opportunity. Mr. Zelaya was a protégé of Mr. Chávez. Standing up for him as democratically elected was a way to score points with Latin America's hard left.
In the quintessential underdog story, Honduras stood up to the world - including Obama - and won.
The two cables provide two different perspectives. The first was from Charles Ford, who was U.S. ambassador to Honduras during the Bush administration. In 2008, he warned of Zelaya:
The insightful diplomat also recognized Mr. Zelaya's disdain for other institutions. He "resents the very existence of the Congress, the Attorney General and Supreme Court." That resentment rose to the surface in June 2009 when the Supreme Court ruled that a referendum on his re-election was unconstitutional. Mr. Zelaya responded by leading a mob to break into a military installation where the ballots for his initiative were being stored.Ford's successor, Hugo Llorens provided the other perspective, which was one that showed support for Zelaya after his removal from office. However, unlike Ford, Llorens - the Obama administration by extension - had no defense for standing with Zelaya.
Mr. Llorens sent his own legal analysis to Washington. In it he acknowledges that there might have been a case to be made against Mr. Zelaya for a number of violations of the constitution. But he also claims that there is "no doubt" that the Supreme Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Zelaya was "a conspiracy" with Congress and the attorney general.In the many months that have passed since Honduras stood up for its own Constitution - and won - their colleagues in Venezuela have chosen to stand down as Chavez gobbles up more and more power.
h/t Weasel Zippers