Honduras’s new president could help Biden on migration, if she can survive a political crisis

“Honduras is in a tenuous political moment. It has operated as a narco-state under the right-wing National Party since 2009 when a military coup ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya, Castro’s husband. Persistent corruption, weak government institutions, climate change, high levels of violent crime, and rampant poverty have driven hundreds of thousands to flee the country in recent years, with many Hondurans seeking asylum in the US.
Change seemed to be on the horizon last November. Voters turned out in droves to elect Castro in a landslide win against the National Party’s Nasry Asfura — an ally of the outgoing president, Juan Orlando Hernández, who has been accused of taking bribes from narcotraffickers. Castro promised to create a coalition government to bring together the National Party’s political opponents, including her own center-left Libre party, under an agenda of combating corruption and promoting economic development.

As part of a joint initiative with the US government, American companies pledged to inject more than a combined $1.2 billion over a multiyear horizon into Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Those funds were meant to help reduce migration by providing new economic opportunity in the region. In Honduras, Castro’s incoming administration was seen as a reliable partner that could ensure the investments worked as intended.”

“Castro’s proposed reforms could be transformative for Honduras, a country where corrupt economic elites have long ruled. She has vowed to institute an anti-corruption commission backed by the United Nations, similar to one that was shut down in Guatemala in 2019, and to convene a National Assembly seeking to rewrite the country’s constitution to guarantee social democratic rights. And she has promised a “new economic model” that would reduce inequality and the cost of living and would involve building an environment more conducive to private investment.

But the future of that agenda is in flux due to a constitutional crisis wracking the Honduran Congress.”