Huffpost WorldPost
Marco Cáceres Headshot

Xiomara Zelaya: Puppet of a Power-Hungry Husband?

Posted: Updated:

The Washington Post published an article on July 8 titled "In Honduras, Manuel Zelaya in the running again with wife's candidacy." It's a relatively superficial piece. No depth, no analysis. But it is accurate, and it does contain several critical points to bear in mind. The first thing to note is that, if Xiomara Castro de Zelaya wins the presidency in November, she will indeed attempt to carry out what her husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, was trying to do before he was overthrow in 2009: transform Honduras into a socialist state.

Oops, sorry... "democratic socialist" state. The assumption here is that a country can be both democratic and socialist -- something which may be true in well-governed, politically sophisticated, orderly, decently educated and somewhat industrialized societies. But probably much less so in poorly governed, chaotic, indecently educated, impoverished nations.

The Post article states, "Opponents of the couple say Castro [de Zelaya's] candidacy will upend the delicate stability they've worked to establish since the coup and could bring new waves of political violence." Maybe. One of the few great accomplishments of the administration of President Porfirio Lobo is that it has managed to calm the political turmoil created by the coup against Mr. Zelaya. The coup helped fuel the creation of a resistance movement in Honduras, but one that has been unarmed and relatively peaceful.

The election of Mrs. Zelaya and a move toward socialism could re-awaken the kind of fears within Honduras' business community, upper social class, and right-wing political forces that led to Mr. Zelaya's ousting, and lead to violent confrontations. What Mrs. Zelaya, her husband, and their Libre Party are trying to do is dramatically change the status quo in the country -- something that is needed. The question is can they do it in a way that doesn't scare the hell out of people and divide Hondurans even more than they already are.

The Post piece states, "They (opponents) depict Castro [de Zelaya], who has never held public office, as a puppet of her power-hungry husband." The never having held public office is not such a big deal. Three of the four major presidential candidates (including Mrs. Zelaya, Mauricio Villeda of the Liberal Party, and Salvador Nasralla of the Anti-Corruption Party) have no governing experience. Plus, given the horrendous record of Honduran presidents, you have to wonder whether Mrs. Zelaya could do all that worse. What should be of much more concern is that she may indeed be a puppet.

The piece mentions that in an interview Mr. Zelaya said that if his wife is elected, "I'll do whatever she tells me." Fat chance. A deposed egomaniacal president with an axe to grind? A machista man in a machista society... taking orders from his wife? Not a chance.