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  1. Honduras Main Page
  2. Tensions Flare Between Honduras and Nicaragua
  3. Military Coup Brings Instability
  4. Fire in Prison Kills Hundreds
  5. Honduras Becomes Focus in U.S. Drug War
  6. Juan Orlando Hernández Wins 2013 Presidential Election
Military Coup Brings Instability

On June 28th, 2009, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a military coup. Zelaya had faced widespread criticism for attempting to extend presidential term limits by holding a constitutional referendum, which the Supreme Court had ruled was illegal. A group of countries, including the United States and Venezuela–an unlikely alliance, signed a resolution condemning the actions of the Honduran military and demanded that Zelaya be reinstated as president. The U.S. suspended military and development aid to Honduras after the coup. Roberto Micheletti, with the backing of the Honduran Congress, courts, and army, assumed leadership of the country. Zelaya, on the other hand, had the support of most of Latin America's leftist governments, including the leaders of Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

Zelaya attempted to return to his country by plane on July 5, but he found a closed runway and well-armed Honduran troops on the ground waiting for him. In Sept., Zelaya secretly returned to Honduras, taking refuge in the Brazilian embassy. Micheletti responded by temporarily cutting off power and water to the embassy, suspending constitutional freedoms, and shuttering a television channel and a radio station. The moves met widespread criticism from within Honduras and abroad, and Micheletti rescinded his restrictions.

The U.S. brokered an agreement between Zelaya and Micheletti in late October that left Zelaya's reinstatement up to a Congressional vote, called for the establishment of a government of national unity and a truth commission, and required Zelaya to abandon a referendum on constitutional reform. The accord, however, fell apart within days, as Micheletti reportedly attempted to form a government that did not include Zelaya.

In November presidential elections, Porfirio Lobo, the candidate of the conservative National Party, defeated Elvin Santos, who represented the Liberal Party, 56% to 38%. Zelaya refused to recognize the results of the election. In December, Congress rejected a plan to allow Zelaya to return to office. Lobo took office in January 2010, thus ending seven months of political turmoil.

On May 28, 2011, nearly two years after he was ousted in a court- and legislature-backed coup, Manuel Zelaya returned to his home country. As part of a prearranged deal, prosecutors dropped corruption and constitution violation charges against the former president and Honduras was readmitted to the Organization of American States (OAS).

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