Will Honduras Turn Left or Right?

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryHonduras will hold its presidential election on November 28th. The two main candidates for the office of the presidency are Xiomara Castro of the left-wing Libre Party, and Nasry Asfura of the ruling right-wing National Party. While Xiomara Castro is 17 points ahead in the polls, most election watchers believe this will be a tight race. The three main issues for most Hondurans are jobs, fighting poverty and government corruption. Castro, in a detailed program, has provided a plan on how she will produce more jobs, fight corruption and provide better programs for the poor. Asfura has said he will work to provide more jobs and business opportunity for Hondurans.

If Castro is elected, she will be Honduras’ first female president. Castro is the wife of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was overthrown in a military takeover in 2009 after he wanted to change the constitution so he could have another term in office. Although Castro is running on a largely domestic campaign platform, she has also pledged to look into switching diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China. Honduras is one of 15 countries that currently recognizes Taiwan. This might bring Castro into loggerheads with the United States which fears Castro might align with China and also other left-wing regimes in Central and South America.

This can be problematic for the United States and its allies. On the one hand, America wants a free and fair election in Honduras with no hint of strife and conflict. On the other hand, America does not want a major political shift in Honduras that could put it on a collision course with any incoming Honduran government. If Castro wins, will she maintain good relations with Washington, D.C.? Will she try to maintain a good relationship with both Taiwan and China? Will Castro maintain good relations with America’s allies Guatemala and Costa Rica? For now there are only questions, and a whole lot of unknowns with just days to go before the election.

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