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The big loser in the Honduras political crisis? The economy.

Honduran businesses have taken a beating since President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in June. One official estimates that GDP will fall 4 percent this year.

This Oct. 1 file photo shows people looking at a boarded up window in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Four months after the military ousted President Manuel Zelaya, Hondurans are feeling the sting of a political crisis that is eroding an already fragile economy and increasing hunger in one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest countries.

Rodrigo Abd/AP/File

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Doris Midence, a snack bar employee at La Tigra National Park outside the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, has the empty gaze of someone with too much time on her hands.

"Customers are down by half," she says, reorganizing gum and candy bars. "Between curfews and protests, people are not leaving their homes."

The Honduran political crisis – at four months and counting, after ousted President Manuel Zelaya was arrested and deposed by the military June 28 – could finally be coming to an end. Both sides have signed a deal that calls on Congress to decide whether Mr. Zelaya gets to return to office. But even if the curfews are being lifted, the economic ramifications of Latin America's worst crisis for decades could endure much longer.

Tourists who typically visit the northern Bay Islands, for example, are opting for other places in the Caribbean to scuba dive. Foreign investment has dropped. Cuts in aid have stalled construction of roads. And the nation's consumers, some facing their own unemployment or simply saving in the face of political instability, are no longer buying shoes or furniture or other non-essentials.

"Since June 28 demand has declined dramatically," says Jose Enrique Nuñez, the president of the country's national association of small and medium-sized businesses. "It has created chaos, and that chaos is causing us to collapse."

No quick fix for the economy

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