Women and Adversity:
21st Century Women
President of Honduras
Xiomara (pronounced See⸍ o mar ah) Castro was elected president of Honduras on November 28, 2021, the first woman president of the country. She was installed in January 2022 but has a tough road to pave despite her promises of “extinguishing the pain and suffering of our Honduran people.”
Honduras, the second poorest Central American country after Nicaragua, is beset by crime, the drug cartel, corruption and poverty. About 74 percent of the nearly 10 million residents live in poverty. The country has the highest rate of women being killed because of their gender. Migration is the primary method of residents to combat their plight.
The countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua border Honduras as does the Pacific Ocean and an inlet from the Caribbean Sea. Its capital is Tegucigalpa (pronounced Ta goo⸍ see galpa), the largest city in the country.
Castro has no government experience except for being married to Manuel Zelaya, who was president of Honduras from 2006-2009. He was ousted in a coup because he wanted to amend the Constitution. He was deported to Costa Rica, and Roberto Micheletti was installed as president.
What does Castro plan to do to change the abominable state of her country? She made 18 promises she said she’d keep if elected president. One hundred days later she kept four of them:
- Pardoning prisoners – of the 22,000 imprisoned, less than half had received verdicts and sentences.
- Eliminating the employment and development zones – these had allowed investors to establish financial and other policies giving them autonomy.
- Subsidizing 100 percent of the energy consumption of the poorest families — Honduras’ Parliament approved an initiative to cover more than one million people.
- Establishing a General Department of Economic Planning and Social Development –this includes a Department of Women — the new government eliminated 17 agencies and other programs and projects to create 24 departments.
Castro also proposed creating an international anti-graft commission backed by the U.N. The U.N. agreed and plans to send a mission to Honduras. She also proposed to ease the country’s total abortion ban, but the chances of this happening is unlikely.
Bio of Xiomara Castro:
- Born in Tegucigalpa in 1959
- Attended school in Tegucigalpa at San José del Carmen Institute and the María Auxiliadora Institute
- Earned a degree in business administrationwithout attending university
- After marrying Zelaya and moving to Catacamas, organized the women’s branch of the Liberal Party of Honduras
- 2006-2009 – as First Lady oversaw the social welfare programs
- 2009 – led the protest movement to return Zelaya to power
- 2013 – ran for president as the candidate for the Libre Party; did not win
- 2017 – running mate of presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla; lost the election
- Married Manuel Zelaya in 1976
- The couple has four children
Learn more about Xiomara Castro:
Get to know Honduras’ first woman president Xiomara Castro – Bing video
Xiomara Castro’s First 100 days in the Honduran Presidency – Havana Times
Honduras: Xiomara Castro’s Government, Advancing Along a Mined Road – Orinoco Tribune – News and opinion pieces about Venezuela and beyond