Elections in Honduras: Who is Xiomara Castro, the woman who can end the first “soft coup” in Latin America | It is defined as “feminist, revolutionary and inclusive”

by time news

The year 2009 implied a definitive change in the life of Xiomara Castro, today the presidential candidate of the Refundación y Libertad party, (Free) who appears in the polls as the favorite to win the election this Sunday in Honduras.

At dawn on June 28, 2009, members of the Honduran Armed Forces raided the presidential residence and detained her husband, President Manuel Zelaya. In his pajamas, he was forcibly transferred to the Air Base south of Tegucigalpa and a military plane illegally deposited him in Costa Rica, where he was received by President Oscar Arias. Thus was inaugurated what was called the “cycle of soft coups” in Latin America, which was later repeated in Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia and threatened to materialize in the rest of the countries with progressive governments in the region.

Xiomara Castro took refuge in the United States embassy for fear of being assassinated while the streets of Honduras were the scene of violent protests in defense of democracy. On July 7, he led a demonstration called against the coup d’état and from then on his presence in the mobilizations was constant and upward, as was his popularity in broad progressive sectors.

Víctor Meza, former Minister of the Interior of Zelaya points out that one of Castro’s main virtues is that “she is a candidate who was born on the street, in public protest and in marches that lasted more than a year. That, without any doubt, It earns him a deserved sympathy and the support of all the political and social sectors that opposed the coup. “

For Meza, Xiomara Castro has another advantage: she is a woman in a country where women are the majority.

His beginnings in politics

Castro was born in 1959 into a family of landowners. At 16 she married her cousin, Manuel Zelaya, and they both settled in the Olancho region where they had 5 children. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University and always kept a low profile accompanying her husband who had a high public exposure.

In 2005, as part of her husband’s presidential campaign, she had her first foray into political activity organizing the women’s branch of the Liberal Party of Honduras in the Catacamas region. In 2006, she assumed as first lady, but she did not have a high profile and began to accompany Zelaya on tours of the interior of the country, internalizing the social reality. In this role, she created assistance centers for single mothers in the poorest departments of the interior and became involved in the regional fight against AIDS.

Its leading role for more than a year in street demonstrations against the coup from 2009 made it a benchmark for important social sectors. Two years later, upon Zelaya’s return from exile, he decided to promote a new political organization with him, definitively breaking with the Liberal Party. That’s how they founded Libertad y Refundación (Libre), the party for which the former first lady ran for general elections as a candidate for president in 2013 and again this year.

In his first electoral contest, Libre was in second place with 28% of the vote, displacing the Liberal Party to third place, leading to the breakdown of the bipartisan system that ruled Honduras for 120 years. On that occasion, the candidate of the National Party, Juan Orlando Hernández, won, embroiled in accusations of fraud.

In the following elections, in 2017, she ran as a candidate, but soon declined to join the Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship as one of the candidates for vice president. That pact promoted Salvador Nasralla as a presidential candidate, known as the “lord of television” because he was the presenter of entertainment and sports programs for 40 years on Honduran television.

That alliance competed against the National Party that promoted the reelection of Juan Orlando Hernández despite being prohibited by the constitution. However, an interpretation of the members of the Supreme Court of Justice enabled it. Curiously, that had been the excuse used to overthrow Zelaya.

Before the day of the elections, all the polls gave the Alliance the winner, which was confirmed when the first official trends began to be disclosed. However, a timely general blackout throughout Honduras interrupted the count for 36 hours and, upon restart, the computer center reported that the trend had changed and ended up giving Hernández the winner. Another fraud had been consummated.

The second try

This year, Castro comfortably won the internal of his party and launched a presidential campaign that saw him rise day by day in the polls, but without being able to overcome the official candidate. The third in the polls was Salvador Nasralla in an electoral scenario with 14 parties competing for the first magistracy.

At the end of October an unexpected announcement shook the electoral board. The “lord of television” declined his presidential candidacy for the Salvador Party of Honduras and joined the ‘Alliance with the people’. This time, he would be the one who would assume a secondary role as vice president. “Today we can say that we are putting an end to the dictatorship,” Castro declared with firm tone, minutes after Nasralla said he felt honored, since “for the first time in the history of Honduras we will have a woman president.”

After the pact, Xiomara Castro ranked first in two of the three polls that were released before October 28, at which time a ban on publishing polls and electoral estimates begins until after the polling stations close.

For a democratic socialist state

“There are only two positions here; the true change represented by a woman committed to this Honduran people, in a change from a model that in recent years has dedicated itself to creating poverty and misery, or continuing to vote for them, the results of which will be more poverty, more misery, more murders and exclusion, “said the candidate, during a ceremony in mid-June in Tegucigalpa.

In the act of presentation of his program, Castro assured that one of the main axes is the construction of a democratic socialist State in which the “supreme goal of society and the State is the human being.”

He emphasized the current problems the country faces due to corruption, assuring that one of its objectives will be “to repeal the laws that support the dictatorship.” In turn, he announced that he will request the United Nations (UN) for an International Commission against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras.

Another of its priorities is to convene a National Constituent Assembly to reform the Constitution of the Republic, as well as to issue a new Penal Code. “On the first day of my government, I will call a popular consultation for the people to organize and elect the National Constituent Assembly and to draft a new Constitution,” he said.

It also confirmed that it is proposed to repeal the Organic Law of Employment and Economic Development Zones (ZEDE) approved in May of this year and that it establishes zones of the national territory subject to a “special regime” in which investors would be in charge of the fiscal, security and conflict resolution policy, among other competences. “To generate employment and development in the country, we do not need to sell our sovereignty. We are going to generate that hope that the people demand,” he emphasized.

Castro also said that his plans include selling the presidential plane, the state’s luxury vehicles, as well as reducing “the high and disproportionate” salaries and “onerous expenses” of all public officials.

Among other announcements in his programmatic presentation, he said that “he will create the Secretariat for Economic Planning and Social Development for the State to organize its resources in favor of human development, abandoning the application of the neoliberal model,” he said.

Regarding international relations, he indicated that he will establish “immediately diplomatic and commercial relations with Mainland China.”

According to Castro, “Honduras has advanced, but towards authoritarianism, looting and dispossession. The system produces corrupters and corrupters. We have to change this system and the people must be guardians of their own rights, “said Castro.

Today Castro defines himself as “feminist, antipatriarchal, revolutionary and inclusive” and proposes to enact the law of equality of women, sanction sexual and reproductive rights and put an end to sexual harassment and gender violence, according to his government plan. The proposals that have caused the most controversy is the “decriminalization of abortion for three universal reasons: risk of the mother’s life, that the pregnancy is the product of rape or that the fetus has malformations.”

Leadership without cameras

In 2016 the Conference of Political Parties of Latin America (Coppal) appointed her as president, due to her leadership after the coup. Since then, his voice has grown louder, although it is not replicated in the media because he prefers to stay away from the cameras. On very few occasions he gives interviews to the press and dedicates all his time to tours and direct contact with people. “We are going to win the next elections and this woman who speaks to you will be your president. We are living the worst moment in our history,” Castro said in one of his last speeches.

“With the capacity that ex-president Zelaya has, I will always have a level advisor, but I will definitely make the decisions. There is only one chair and that chair will only be occupied by me,” says Castro.

The same is indicated by “Mel” Zelaya who assured: “I am not the candidate. The one who will be inside is Xiomara, she is another human being. What is he going to do with me? I don’t know, he may send me to my house, to take care of the grandchildren “.


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