Political Shift in Honduras as Xiomara Castro is Elected President
On December 1, 2021, Xiomara Castro of the Freedom and Refoundation Party (“Libre”) was recognized as the winner of the Honduran national elections. This win marks the end, in the words of social movements, of the “narco-dictatorship” coup government that has been in place since the ousting of popular president Manuel Zelaya (spouse of Castro) in a US-backed coup in 2009. Grassroots International stood with Honduran movements in denouncing the coup when it happened and has accompanied them in the years since in their work to restore democracy, fight state repression, and build popular power at the bases. Today, we join them in celebrating this new political landmark, while recognizing that the struggle continues and that lasting change will come from below. The following are some reflections from immediately before and after the elections from our partners Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH).
COPINH: “Honduras is not going to rebuild itself. We will rebuild it.”
FIRST: We celebrate with caution but with hope the victory of Xiomara Castro, elected as the first president of Honduras, breaking the male dominance of the executive power in the history of Honduras and the authoritarian coup hegemony sustained for more than 12 years.
SECOND: We urge the new elected government to comply with the proposals for social justice for Honduras, justice for the martyrs and to promote the necessary structural changes through the convocation of a National Popular Constituent Assembly that gives rise to the rebuilding process for the construction of a Honduras of rights and inclusion.
THIRD: We call on the new government, elected by the tired and exploited majorities of Honduras, to remove opportunists, bandits and corrupt people from its bosom so as not to repeat the past, and to engage with the popular, peasant and indigenous sectors for the construction of a New Honduras.
FOURTH: We urge the new government to prosecute with justice, from now on and forcefully, anyone who has plundered the public treasury for their own benefit.
FIFTH: COPINH will continue with its firm stance against injustices, inequities and violators of the rights of the communities, and will raise its voice against everything that is contrary to the well-being and development of the communities.
FINALLY: We remind social organizations and conscious citizens that a project of radical and profound change in our society necessarily implies continuing the struggle, dialogues, and organization to dismantle the current powers that are contrary to the rights of the majority and to exercise popular power.
Miriam Miranda, OFRANEH: “The conditions must be created for communities to be empowered territorially.”
“We are not going to solve the problem of Honduras with a win by Xiomara. Some believe so, but then there is the question we must analyze of where is the political weight, where is the weight in decision making, and who is making the decisions. Because Xiomara can become president, but how is she going to govern when a whole platform of economic, political, and military power will always be fighting against her. So, whoever wins, we have to build another form of coexistence, different pacts that allow us to move forward and to face key issues such as the climate crisis. Corporations are destroying the habitat and are looting all natural resources. So you have to build awareness on the one hand, but also take decisions about those businesses that are destroying nature to such an extent. It is a debate that is taking place around the world.”
“So now I ask myself, what power will she have if it is not accompanied by a social movement that can position itself against this? It is not only an executive decision — what we are talking about is that at the territorial level, the conditions must be created for communities to be empowered territorially, communally, to be able to face the voracity of capital that destroys our resources and our lives day by day, and thus build with autonomy a popular project, which is the basis for the rebuilding of Honduras.”