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Nothing Succeeds Like Failure? Honduras and the Defense of Democracy in Brazilian Foreign Policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)83-103
Number of pages21
JournalRising Powers Quarterly
Issue number2
PublishedMay 2017


King's Authors


The world is becoming more multilateral, with established powers increasingly sharing decision-making with rising powers. At the same time, democratic institutions appear to be unstable in many parts of the world. What are the positions of the rising powers on the defense and promotion of democracy abroad? This article examines Brazil which, like India and South Africa, is a democracy. The conventional wisdom about Brazil is that its foreign policy prioritizes non-intervention, is pragmatic and open to negotiation to everyone, and prioritizes its own economic development as well as the political and economic integration of its own region, South America. Brazil’s efforts to defend and promote democracy are also often depicted as minimal, and far less than those of established powers such as the USA and the EU. This article examines Brazilian policy towards Honduras after the coup d’état there in 2009 to challenge these interpretations. It argues that the Honduras case shows that Brazil does defend and promote democracy, especially when its material interests and geostrategic concerns are furthered by doing so.

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