On the eve of Xiomara Castro’s inauguration as Honduras’ new president, concerns were growing among her supporters that a worsening legislative crisis could derail her campaign promises and their hopes for a better future.
elected President Castro, the country’s first female leaderis scheduled to be sworn in on Thursday afternoon, a dozen years end of governments that have overseen aggravating poverty and increasing outward migration, while being accused of corruption and links with drug smugglers.
Pressure increased to find a way out of a political impasse that led to two rival congressional leadership teams.
Seventy-two-year-old Jose Ricardo Garay traveled from his home in northwestern Honduras to the capital to witness his first inauguration, saying he was eager to see the president exit. John Orlando Hernandez.
“That man is bothering me,” he said as he ate a tortilla full of beans in front of Congress on Wednesday. Garay was also upset by the divided congress – the two leadership teams held simultaneous but separate sessions on Tuesday – and Castro agreed that the split was “a betrayal”.
The growing concern comes after several newly elected lawmakers from Castro’s left-wing Libre party defected on Friday and elected their own congress leader, Jorge Calix. They rejected Castro’s choice, Luis Redondo, a choice rooted in the political alliance that helped her win the November election.
Castro called the move a “betrayal” and said her party had suspended the 18 lawmakers who defected. The dispute sparked chaotic scenes in Congress, prompting the U.S. embassy in Honduras to call for calm and dialogue.
The Latin American Working Group (LAWG), a US-based, non-profit group, said Castro was likely to face “corruption forces” and organized crime that had infiltrated government structures as well as parts of the private sector.
“The U.S. government must work with the incoming president to live up to its promises to end corruption and improve the lives of Honduran citizens,” LAWG co-director Lisa Haugaard said in a statement Tuesday.
“The Biden administration must work closely with diverse sectors of civil society in Honduras to address the root causes of forced migration, improve the lives of the most vulnerable and to expand the space available to Honduran citizens to to exercise rights, “she said.
US Vice President Kamala Harris will attend Castro’s inauguration, in a show of US support, and as an attempt to find a partner in her task of finding the “root causes” of migration to the USA.
Helen Euceda, a 39-year-old doctor on his way to work, said it was critical that the new government focus its immediate attention on “the health and education of the people”.
“With (Castro) in government, this is an opportunity for women who are capable of tackling problems,” Euceda said. “It will not be short-term, but there is an opportunity to show the ability and gender inclusion.”
Meanwhile, critics say none of the leadership teams were legally elected or appointed and Tiziano Breda, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, said a quick political solution was urgently needed.
“Politically, you run the risk of provoking a legislative paralysis, where the initiatives approved by Calix are vetoed by the president or not even considered, while Redondo’s team does not have the necessary votes in Congress or has no legality, “he said.
Breda feared that the crisis could extend to a third branch of the Honduran government if the dispute ends up before the Supreme Court, which is considered friendly to Hernandez’s outgoing National Party and thus distrusted by Hondurans who supported Castro.
The risk is that the continued uncertainty could deter much-needed international investment in Honduras, Breda said.
“On a social level, the resentment and exhaustion that drove the majority of Hondurans to vote for a change in November will be fueled when they see the political class continuing to entangle power struggles and individual interests instead of the country’s to address urgent issues. , ”Breda said. “This could lead to more social turmoil and growing migration.”
That international support will be critical to Castro’s ability to begin reforming a country suffering from rising unemployment and high violence rates, two of the many factors that have driven Honduras to flee the country in recent years.
According to data collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), more than 319,000 Hondurans were arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border during the fiscal year 2021 – more than any other nationality.