First woman president in Honduras inspires hope for change

MERIDEN — The Central American nation of Honduras recently swore-in its first woman president after an historic election.

Xiomara Castro, sworn in on Jan. 27, campaigned on an anti-corruption agenda, also vowing to liberalize abortion laws and reduce poverty.

In November, The Freedom and Refoundation party (Libre) defeated Nasry Asfura, the capital’s mayor, and National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernández, the outgoing president.

The self proclaimed democratic socialist won 51% of the votes and received the largest number of ballots in the country’s history, with 1.7 million votes, according to CNN. Castro, 62, is married to Manuel Zelaya, former elected Honduran president, who was ousted in 2009 by a military coup. 

Honduran stage

Castro’s promises for change have appealed to President Joe Biden. Vice president Kamala Harris attended the inauguration and congratulated Castro, according to CNN. 

The new president vowed to stifle systematic issues regarding poverty, corruption, violence, inequality and economic insecurity. She said she would legalize abortions in certain cases and cut the cost of living.

“Honduras is one of six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that bans abortion under all circumstances, and it is the only country in the region to ban emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill,” Reuters reported. 

In 2016, the World Bank, – which connects global financial resources, knowledge, and solutions to the needs of developing countries –  noted Honduras had more than 66 percent of its population living in poverty. In 2019 before the impact of COVID-19, almost half of the population lived on less than $5.50 a day, giving the country the second-highest poverty rate in Latin America and the Caribbean after Haiti. 

In 2018, the World Bank identified high levels of violence in Honduras, including 38 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. 

In addition, according to Female-rights, Honduran women living in rural areas faced disadvantages due to a patriarchal society. Women often do not finish school due to responsibilities at home.

Meriden’s Honduran resident

Meriden resident Jhennifer Aragon, born in Honduras, said she is proud the country has a female president. She would like her children to visit her homeland one day and feel proud.

“More than anything, I would like the corruption to end,” she said. “The prior government was very corrupt there is a lot of poverty and children cannot attend a school...The hope is for things to get better and for doors to open for the younger generation. I hope women get more opportunities now too.

“Corruption affects the entire town. Many people flee the country due to gangs,” Aragon added. “The previous government preferred to invest in arms for the military knowing the health and education are not good.”

Aragon said that housing is also a problem. 

jdiaz@record-journal.com203-317-2386Twitter: @jarelizz


More From This Section