Twelve years after the coup that brought the conservative National Party to power, Honduras gets another left-wing president. Xiomara Castro, wife of President Manuel Zelaya ousted in 2009, won last Sunday‘s presidential election. Her opponent in the elections has now acknowledged his defeat. Castro, from the Freedom and Reestablishment party, becomes the country’s first female president.
Nasry Asfura, mayor of the capital Tegucigalpa, was the candidate for the National Party. With just over half the votes counted, he managed to get 34 percent of voters behind him. This left him well behind Castro, who now stands at 53 percent.
“I want to say publicly that I congratulate her on her victory. I hope that God assists her and that her government does what is best for all Hondurans,” said Asfura after a conversation with Castro.
In the 2017 elections, Castro was the running mate of left-wing candidate Salvador Nasralla. It lost the elections very well, but international observers identified irregularities. Demonstrations against the results were crackdowned and 23 people were killed.
Many Hondurans were extremely dissatisfied with the incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández and the National Party. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Central America and has large-scale corruption. Hernández‘s brother was convicted of drug trafficking in the US. The President himself is also suspected of being involved in drug trafficking. For example, through his brother, he would have received a million dollar bribe from the infamous Mexican drug boss El Chapo.
There is also a lot of gang violence and the murder rate is one of the highest in the world. Hundreds of thousands of Hondurans have tried to migrate in recent years, mainly to the United States.
The US congratulated Castro. Foreign Minister Blinken calls her victory in a statement historical. At the coup d’état in 2009, the US remained relatively alterated. Deposed President Zelaya was in the left-populist Latin American camp of countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia, which have a bad relationship with the US.