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Honduran coup tests waning US clout in Latin America

The coup happened apparently against US wishes, showing the erosion of America’s influence in a region it once controlled.

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Sunday's military coup in Honduras is a reminder of democracy's shallow roots in much of Latin America, and it provides a major test of US and international influence in what was once the quintessential banana republic.

The White House said Monday that its goal is to see democratic order reestablished. But the US refrained from formally declaring Sunday's actions a "coup": a move that would require a cutoff of US aid.

Instead, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the US will work with the international community to see that Honduras returns "to the rule of law and constitutional order within a relatively short period of time."

The Organization of American States is set to take up the issue in an emergency session Tuesday.

But the fact a military coup occurred apparently against US wishes suggests how American dominance in the region has waned.

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