As every poll had predicted, Xiomara Castro, a left-wing candidate, is the new President of Honduras. Twelve years after Hillary Clinton’s coup d’état that ousted legitimate President Mel Zelaya from the government, now at the head of the Free Progressive Party, Xiomara – who is Mel’s wife – has put things back in their natural order, which sees consensus popular in the government and coup in the opposition. Desperate attempts to prevent the US government and the European Union from winning Xiomara at the hands of the OAS (The Organization of American States) have proved ineffective.
The extraordinarily wide margin of Xiomara’s victory has prevented any possible fraud regarding the presidency and, although the right is attempting dirty operations on the mayoral elections, the impression is that these can be reduced to disturbing actions, which will little affect the proclamation actual results.
The identity of “democratic socialism” claimed by Xiomara Castro is not an alleged softness towards the ruling classes and the political system. It talks about direct democracy and popular consultations, about putting an end to misery and corruption. Well, putting together the condition of the dispossessed and the fight against corruption and crime represents a strategic link towards the construction of a different Honduras. It is precisely the bond between annexation and crime that forms the fifth essence of the power system that holds the country hostage, now closer to the representation of horror than to that of a modern and unbalanced society. Precisely for this reason the United States and the local right, much more prudent than a certain left with an adjective as easy as it is out of place, clearly sees the threat to their interests.
The political proposal of national reconciliation and profound reform of the Honduran state and society, through a hard fight against corruption and organized crime, has turned out to be the winning card of a political battle for the redemption of a country submerged by appalling crime and rampant corruption. The other side of the coin of a country reduced to a minimum, where crime and poverty rates among the highest in the entire American continent come together in a horrendous mix. San Pedro Sula, the second city in the country, is more dangerous than Baghdad for the homicide rate in relation to the inhabitants. A country now dominated from the outside through the United States and dominated from the inside by organized crime. A deadly pincer whose two arms respond to the same interests, although not always to the same masters.
A condition that needed a broad and shared political proposal, which would trigger a civic as well as a political rebellion, such as those summarized in the political manifesto of the winning left. In this sense, Xiomara’s victory is not just a belated compensation for what she suffered from the coup d’état of 2009, which was followed by twelve years of social and political struggles and extremely harsh repression, with the murder of numerous leaders of social movements; it also reaped the fruits of the struggles against the anti-people policies of the various governments that followed Micheletti’s coup junta and the incidence of organized crime in government policies.
Precisely the combination of the struggles for social demands and against brutal repression on the one hand and the aspiration to a country free from drug trafficking, represented the link between different social sectors of the country now reflected in a vote which, in terms of breadth and transversality, should be read as a generalized protest and not only by the weakest segment of the population.
The Honduran dictatorship has also severely suffered the abandonment of some of its social sectors of reference in traditionally conservative areas. A vertical drop in consensus further amplified by the approximately two million Hondurans residing in the US, many of whom emigrated illegally in the last twelve years of the prevailing narco-dictatorship in Tegucigalpa. It is no coincidence that the government had prepared a mechanism for updating the documents which made the foreign vote very complicated.
But it did not help to set traps on the path of the voters, who will, however, in all probability, have to defend their vote in the streets, given that the right and the US will hardly give up power recognizing the value of the democratic process that produced their electoral defeat.
In fact, attempts to overturn the vote through pressure and coup-type initiatives cannot be excluded, relying on the full support of the US government which sees the victory of Xiomara Castro as an important threat to its role of domination over the country.
Honduras is characterized by being, in effect, an aircraft carrier on the mainland of the United States in Central America. From the gigantic US bases located on its territory, all the coups and attacks on the progressive governments of the Central American and Caribbean era were born and the country was the main base of operations and rear for the Contras, the anti-Sandinista terrorists of the 1980s. Full control of Honduras is essential for military control over the Gulf of Fonseca (the Pacific Ocean) and the Caribbean Sea, and the borders with Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala make its position extraordinarily important. Precisely this geographical location assigns it a key position, preparatory for control over the entire Central American region. A region that is not only vital for trade and the TLC network with which the US largely directs the performance of the markets of their southern states, but which, together with Mexico, guarantees an out-of-control emigration with low-cost, zero-rights labor, useful for unhinging what remains of labor rights in the US domestic market.
Were the concerns for the management of Bukele in El Salvador not enough, which with the introduction of the virtual currency could significantly reduce dependence on the dollar, (thereby causing political and financial problems that cannot be easily solved) the harmony with neighboring Nicaragua reminds the USA the adhesion that was given to the Alba project by Mel Zelaya. These are concerns that anguish the CIA and the White House in these hours, which obviously are already thinking about what to do to dissuade Xiomara Castro from venturing on her husband’s path or, in case she does not want to understand, get rid of her as already with Mel Zelaya .
The US does not want and cannot afford a different Honduras with a Nicaragua Sandinista and an El Salvador partly out of control. For a general and a circumstantial reason. The general one is that the US does not tolerate governments that are not subject to them; not necessarily hostile but also just not obedient. The baton of command is in permanent rotation over the heads of countries seeking to reduce the nefarious US influence as well as the continued plunder of land and underground resources as well as geographic and satellite space for Washington’s purposes.
In particular, if the geographical proximity of Honduras to Nicaragua also becomes a strong political proximity, most of the threats of isolation of the Sandinista nation would take the form of nonsense threats. The trade network would certainly be increased by the positive development of relations between Managua and Tegucigalpa, which have already significantly improved with the signing of the bilateral agreement on territorial waters signed in October in Nicaragua. And Nicaragua’s ability to export food would allow a Honduran social agenda that decides to fight poverty through food subsidies to the most vulnerable, which would directly affect the reduction of micro-crime.
In short, a picture in the making that worries Washington, precisely because the victory of Xiomara Castro is the engine of greater regional integration and greater independence from Washington and the push coming from Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia for a definitive overcoming of the OSA (the Organization of American States), to be replaced with CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), it would find a new, unexpected and important step in the construction of a different and more independent Latin America.
At the news of Xiomara’s victory, the Honduran flag yesterday soared high, as never seen before, on the buildings in Tegucigalpa. Moved by a wind of change that accentuated its colors, it fluttered sinuously, dancing and touching the sky.
Many swear they saw Berta Cáceres‘ arms waving flags and Xiomara’s smile dictating the undulations.
Since yesterday, the time to change music has been felt from above, as well as from below.
The author, Fabrizio Casari, is a journalist and director of www.altrenotizie.org.
He has been dealing with foreign policy for about 36 years, with special reference to the Latin American area but also with attention to the Middle East.
In 2017 he wrote the book Nicaragua, the last revolution.