The Honduras situation leaves the United States with difficult options. How the Obama administration handles this challenge against a government that was in the process of breaching the constitutional order will have powerful repercussions across Latin America. Similar challenges could appear in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador as the Bolivarian governments move to consolidate their hold on power and meet resistance.
It is tempting to see the restoration of Zelaya as the democratic imperative, and most of the international community is pressing for this outcome, while not endorsing Chávez's threats of violence. The Organization of American States is set to impose a series of crippling economic sanctions if Zelaya is not allowed to return in some form. But it is worth looking further at the implications of the Boliviarian revolution writ large.