Honduras-Democratic Socialist Xiomara Castro elected first female president

Right wing ruling National Party candidate  Nasry Asfura suffered heavy defeat

Democratic Socialist Xiomara Castro has been elected first female president of Central American nation Honduras. She won as the candidate of left wing Liberty and Refoundation Party (Libre). She got nearly 53% of the votes in the presidential elections held on November 28, 2021. 

Her victory has been celebrated by people throughout the Honduras. The people are happy that finally they will see the back of right wing National Party that supported the Coup in 2009 and rule the Honduras since then. And after 12 years of struggle on the streets against the pro-coup party, they finally ousted it through the democratic process. 

This election result brings with it enormous hope for change. After the Liberal and National Party united to overthrow former president Mel Zelaya through a clumsily-executed coup in 2009, the former are now in the process of dissolution and will obtain around 9 percent of the votes. In fact, one section of the Liberal Party actually openly voted for Xiomara.

She defeated the ruling right wing National Party candidate Nasry Asfura with clear margin. With this loss,the regime established by the 2009 coup has been overthrown. Asfura has conceded defeat and congratulated Xiomara on her historic victory. 
 Right wing media and ruling party launched a vicious campaign against Xiomara Castro and declared her as communist that will bring authoritarianism, death and chaos to Honduras people. But voters rejected this propaganda and voted overwhelmingly for Xiomara to bring political change in Honduras. 

The National Party ended up governing in the wake of the coup, doing so by way of ridiculous and blatantly fraudulent electoral processes. Today, they are completely discredited. It was brute force alone that kept an increasingly degenerate oligarchy in power. As well as being utterly corrupt, in those years the upper echelons of the state strengthened its ties with organised crime, effectively creating a narco-state. 
Again, electoral fraud was in operation, but this time it was blocked by the active and genuinely mass mobilisation of the people. The campaign of fear continued, as did the campaign of misinformation in the mainstream media and on social media. Voter abstention was encouraged. The media claimed that Xiomara was going to kill children because she was pro-abortion, when what she had actually proposed was the decriminalisation and legalisation of pills that prevent conception.

The Turnout was high. Nearly 70% voters polled their ballots. The high turnout and active participation of mass of people prevented the possible rigging and fraud in the elections. The opposition alliance promoted the importance of voting from the beginning of their campaign and indeed there was a huge turnout during the first minutes and hours.
The voting ended at 5pm, but in places where people were waiting in line voting hours had to be extended until the last ones finished voting. The lines after 5pm were huge. There were attempts to close the polling stations early, but acts of popular pressure prevented this. 
The resounding electoral victory of Xiomara Castro and Libre is clearly irreversible, although it has not yet been officially declared as the counting continues. These elections are a turning point in the history of Honduras. It is the first time that a left-wing party has won a national election.
The old bipartisan regime of the Nationals and Liberals (the Honduran version of Republicans and Democrats), received its death blow. Its apparatuses refused to die, but that regime has been consigned to the dustbin of history. But the organic crisis of capitalism in Honduras requires more than the collapse of a regime. It requires a radical change of the system. 

The people want to have a clear change in the direction and economic policies of the government. Xiomara Castro has promised to end poverty and to initiate social programs to help poor. 

She will face major challenges as the Central American country's president. Unemployment is above 10%, northern Honduras was devastated by two major hurricanes last year and street gangs drag down the economy with their extortion rackets and violence, driving migration to the United States.

A speech Castro made to her Liberty and Re-foundation party in June remains one her clearest expressions of how she will navigate the U.S. relationship.

“In the first 100 days, we will execute and propose to the administration of President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris a plan to combat and address the true causes of migration,” Castro said.

Castro describes Hondurans’ emigration in terms of flight to escape inequality, corruption, poverty and violence. That sounds a lot like Harris’ assessment of the root causes the Biden administration wants to focus U.S. aid on. But Castro also puts some of the blame on the U.S. government.

“I believe the Biden administration has an enormous opportunity to address the issue of migration,” Castro said in the June speech. “First, recognising that they have part of the responsibility for what happens in our country,” she added, noting the 2009 coup.

She has said she’s interested in having an international anti-corruption mission return to Honduras. That combined with a strong, independent attorney general, could begin to tackle one of the country’s most profound problems.

In a speech late Sunday night, Castro told supporters: "Get out war! Get out hate! Get out death squads! Get out corruption! Get out drug trafficking and organised crime!”

                                                                      Khalid Bhatti 

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