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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

High Stakes Gamble

The confrontation in Honduras between Zelaya and his followers, and the coup-installed president and his followers, just got hotter, and more risky. While the defacto government hopes to wait things out until the next election, thus keeping Zelaya out of office until his term would have expired, Zelaya has decided he has nothing to lose by pushing the confrontation to new limits. The risk is one of widespread violence between the supporters of both camps. It looks like many more people might die or be injured in clashes before this high-stakes game is over. The United States is in a most unusual position: It saw it necessary to support Zelaya, a onetime conservative who turned "leftist" and now is good friends with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, because he was removed from office in what can only be described as a classic coup d'etat, no matter how much the Honduran Congress says otherwise. The Obama Administration cannot be seen supporting coups in Central America. That's the sort of Republican knee-jerk behavior that the president and his supporters have decried for years. But now Washington is backed into a corner, supporting a politician who wants to take Honduras in the same direction as the demagogue in Caracas.

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