Watch my Interview with the New President of Honduras
I spoke about the US-backed coup in Honduras with the country's newly elected president, Xiomara Castro Zelaya, back in 2019.
The victory of Xiomara Castro Zelaya in Honduras’ presidential elections is all but guaranteed. With a clear and wide margin, she is set to become the first woman president of the country and the first post-coup president of the country that does not belong to the National Party, which has been in power since the 2009 US-backed coup.
Assuming that the National Party does not attempt to steal the election, as it did in 2017, the election results represent a reason for hope in the second poorest country in the hemisphere, next to Haiti.
The new president, Xiomara Zelaya, is the wife of Manuel Zelaya who was ousted in the 2009 coup d'état.
Since 2009, the country has been in free-fall as major public services have been privatized and human rights have become, essentially, nonexistent. I have previously written at length about this descent into what I’ll call Narcocracy, or a government of drug lords.
The outgoing president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has deep ties to cartels and was an unindicted co-conspirator in his brother, Tony Hernandez’s trial in the United States. He even used $1.5 million in drug money as campaign funds back in 2013.
US court documents accuse Tony Hernandez and former president, also of the National Party, Pepe Lobo of “leverag[ing] drug trafficking to maintain and enhance their political power.”
While the Biden White House has said its strategy to mitigate the migrant crisis is to address the “root causes” of the issues, the Obama-Biden-backed coup in Honduras has been the single biggest driver of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States. If the White House is going to be true to its words, it must accept the legitimacy of Xiomara Zelaya’s electoral victory.
“At the exact moment when we were beginning a process… of reforming and transforming our people and our countries, giving citizens a real opportunity to participate, to feel they’re a part of the process and not just a tool — that’s when the US got scared,” she told me.
“Today the Honduran people are stronger. Today we understand — along with many sectors that were indifferent to the coup but are now with us in this fight — that on that June 28 when they perpetrated the coup d’état, taking their president out of the country, along with everything else we’ve lost, the people understand that the coup d’état wasn’t done so everything would remain the same. They did it to harm the vast majority of the people.”