The wife of former president Zelaya, who breaks the traditional dominance of the right, faces a state permeated by corruption and drug trafficking
Xiomara Castro managed this Thursday to break the glass ceiling in a country like Honduras, with little regard for the figure of women. After overcoming a countless number of barriers, she became the first woman to lead the government of the small Central American state. The left-wing politician was sworn in before some 29,000 people at the National Stadium in Tegucigalpa, where numerous world leaders were also present, led by King Felipe VI and the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, and which culminated in a speech in which The new president set as her main objectives the fight against poverty that pushes her people to emigrate, drug trafficking and corruption -the great traditional evils- and the pandemic, which hits its citizens harshly on the back of a precarious health system and insufficient.
When the embers of the parliamentary crisis that threatened his leadership have not yet died down, Castro, 62, announced the beginning of the “Government of the people” after “twelve years of struggle and twelve years of resistance.” The wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was overthrown by a coup on June 28, 2009, intends to erase the simple image of a country with paradisiacal islands to turn it “into a modern State”, based on the social conscience born of the protests against successive conservative and autarchic leaders. For this reason, it is expected that the coalition led by his party, Libertad y Refundación (Libre), which put an end to the supremacy of the right, will have a closer relationship with the countries of the Latin American left, but always with an eye on the United States. .
Among his objectives is also to give a boost to the improvement of the rights of Honduran women, the great forgotten during the mandate of his predecessor, Juan Orlando Hernández, who held the presidency for the last eight years without doing anything to put an end to sexist attitudes and high rates of violence against the female population.
THE NEW PRESIDENT:
A mother of four children and a grandmother, Castro was born 62 years ago in Tegucigalpa and married at 16.
With a degree in Business Administration, she runs her cattle, dairy, wood and crop farms together with her husband.
A calm person.
Speaking slowly but firmly, she addresses her sympathizers with a maternal and conciliatory tone.
Castro agrees to discuss same-sex marriage.
Castro’s legislature takes refuge in its resounding victory in the November elections -with more than 50% of the votes, fifteen points ahead of the second, in a process with close to 70% participation-, but it will be very complicated because accumulates excessive internal enemies and will have to face a precarious economic situation aggravated by violence and the impact of hurricanes. His challenge is to take the reins of a country that shows clear signs of having already become a failed state, with drug trafficking structures permeating everything, after his two predecessors in office have been directly or indirectly related to the drug market. drugs.
Bridge to the US
The fall of Zelaya in 2009 facilitated a significant increase in irregular air traffic from Colombia, whose cartels have used Honduras as a bridge to move their cocaine to the United States without having to go through Mexico, where powerful organized crime groups impose their own rules.
Gang violence also seems rampant. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 are the main responsible for the high homicide rate in Honduras.
With the investiture of Castro also comes the end of a traditional bipartisanship, of more than a century, marked by the conservative National parties, which he has exercised for the last twelve years, and the Liberal, which since 2013 was relegated to the second opposition force. in Parliament.
Despite a poverty rate of 70% of the 9.5 million Hondurans, a debt of around 15,000 million dollars and an economy that depends largely on the money sent from abroad by emigrants – more than 7,300 million dollars a year, almost 30% of the GDP-, the people have placed great hopes in Castro. «I hope that Doña Xiomara makes a better situation for the most humble people. Women are our mothers and a conscious mother is going to take the country forward, ”said Santos Barahona, a retiree, in downtown Tegucigalpa on Thursday.
To develop her plan, the new president needs the support of Parliament, where she does not have a majority. In fact, two rival right-wing factions of Libre each decided to elect their own president of Congress, generating a crisis after the eventful inauguration five days ago of the new Legislative.
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