Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

Is it a New Hope or the Same Hype?

On November 27, 2021 Honduras broke a few records. There was an all-time-high, massive voting turnout in the general elections for presidential candidates, congressmen and mayoral candidates. Around 68.9% of the nine million Hondurans cast their vote.

Hondurans chose Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento de Zelaya, 62, as the first female president of the country. This was also the first time a nontraditional political party has won an election since democracy was restored in 1982. Castro’s “Libertad and Refundación” (LIBRE) party is relatively new and was established in 2011 as a spin off the traditional Liberal Party. With that party her husband José Manuel Zelaya Rosales was the President of the Republic from 2006- 2009. On June 28, 2009 Zelaya was removed from office by the Honduran military under orders from the Supreme Court.

It won’t be Xiomara Castro’s first time in the presidential palace. She already was our first lady and will now be our President. This is another unprecedented event for this country. I for one am not sure what Mel Zelaya will be referred to as “former president” or “first husband.”

Mrs. Castro has published an ambitious plan of governance, and what she hopes to achieve in the first 100 days of her presidency. Incidentally these plans seem to mirror the plans her husband/campaign, manager/party leader and ex-president Manuel Zelaya had for the country 14 years ago.

Most controversial in her plan, is the establishment of a committee to review and change the current constitution. The same plans that got her husband that one way trip to Costa Rica in pajamas in 2009.

These plans seems to mirror the plans her husband
Manuel Zelaya had for the country 14 years ago.

Castro’s political party appears to hold a majority in congress. Some results are being contested and the final tally isn’t available yet. A clear majority or three quarters of votes is needed to amend or change the constitution with members of the traditional blue and red party, as well as congressman from the newly created “Salvador de Honduras” party that is also holding seats in congress. Can she push her agenda through and actually change the constitution?

The campaign manager for the “Salvador de Honduras” party, Mr. Pedro Barquero, has emphatically stated that now is not the time to even think of constitutional reform. Barquero says it’s time to rebuild the country and end corruption, time to combat extreme poverty and streamline the tax code and make Honduras attractive to investment. Mr. Barquero is the former president of the chamber of commerce of Cortes and a person to watch for a presidential run in 2025.

The Honduran Supreme Court’s seven year term will be up in 2023 and the 15 new supreme court magistrates will be elected by this new congress. Mrs. Castro’s government will be watching this very varied congress elect the new members of our supreme court.

Another controversial item on our president elect’s agenda is the derogation of the law for ZEDES or special zones for economic development (“charter cities” such as Próspera that exist on Roatan). What happens to the ZEDES that have already been chartered and approved by the current congress? Can the new congress revoke their status? Will the current Supreme Court uphold their ruling and keep them? What will the new Supreme Court of 2023 rule in this regard? Many exciting and controversial issues coming soon to a congress near you.