President Xiomara Castro waves during her inauguration ceremony on Thursday President Xiomara Castro waves during her inauguration ceremony on Thursday 

Honduras’ first female president takes office

Xiomara Castro, the first-ever woman President of Honduras, takes the helm of the Latin American nation as it faces an economic crisis, crippling national debt, and the emigration of thousands due to unemployment, street gangs, and poverty.

By James Blears

In her own words, President Xiomara Castro takes charge of a broken nation.

The euphoria following her 28 November presidential election victory and inauguration has passed, and the political honeymoon spell is well and truly over.

In a political dig at the National Party, which ruled for twelve years after her husband President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a coup in 2009, she’s frankly stating: "The economic catastrophe I am inheriting is un-paralleled in the history of our country. My government won’t continue the maelstrom of looting, which has condemned generations of young people to pay the debt politicians have incurred behind their backs."

Rescue package

Accordingly, Ms. Castro says there must be a restructuring of the national debt, which has ballooned.

The only practical way out of this quagmire is a billion-dollar rescue package from the United States, which is formulating an aid spearhead to help Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. It seeks to mend decimated economies, creating home grown jobs to stem the tide of migrant caravans.

Significantly, US Vice President Kamala Harris, who attended the inauguration, has been holding talks with President Castro.

Gathering political clouds

As if all of this isn’t enough, Ms. Castro is facing a homegrown revolt from a faction of her own Libre Party.

She made a promise to political rival and now ally Salvador Nasralla, who stepped aside discarding his candidacy, to clear her presidential path, in return for her supporting Luis Redondo as the leader of Congress.

It was Redondo who presented her with the Presidential Sash. But some of her own party are now defying her, by encouraging a candidate from the defeated National Party.

It’s the first test of her Presidency and a challenging one.

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28 January 2022, 16:55