Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento (Tegucigalpa, September 30, 1959), also known as Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, is a politician, businesswoman and president-elect of the Republic of Honduras after winning the elections on November 28, 2021; she will take office on January 27, 2022.
She served as First Lady in the period between 2006 and 2009, her husband being former President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales. She is also, since October 2016, president of the Women’s organization of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America (Copppal Mujeres).
She was the first presidential candidate of the Party Libertad y Refundación (LIBRE), founded with her husband Mel Zelaya, in the 2013 general elections, and the first presidential candidate for the Alliance of Opposition against the Dictatorship, which led Salvador Nasralla as presidential candidate in the 2017 general elections. She was once again a LIBRE presidential candidate for the November 2021 general elections, which she won, becoming the first woman elected president of Honduras.
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She was born in the city of Tegucigalpa on September 30, 1959, the daughter of Irene Castro Reyes (QDDG) and Olga Doris Sarmiento Montoya (QDDG), she is the second of five siblings.
In 1979 she married José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, with whom she had four children: Zoe Zelaya Castro, Héctor Manuel Zelaya Castro, Hortensia Xiomara Zelaya Castro and José Manuel Zelaya Castro.
She completed her primary and secondary studies at the San José del Carmen Institute and at the María Auxiliadora Institute in Tegucigalpa, respectively. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Honduran Institute of Inter-American Culture.
She was an active member of the Association of Wives of Members of the Rotary Club of Catacamas, an association that carries out solidarity activities with disadvantaged children in the department of Olancho. Likewise, it is her initiative to found the Day Care Center for Children in Catacamas, with the aim of offering assistance to single-parent families headed by women, through the creation of employment projects in cleaning, planting vegetables and floriculture.
She joined the Liberal Party and was first lady of Honduras from 2006 to June 2009, during the mandate of her husband José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, in which she carried out recognized social work.
Castro first entered politics as an organizer of the women’s branch of the Liberal Party in Catacamas, where she campaigned for her husband, Manuel Zelaya, in the 2005 internal elections. Zelaya won these elections and the subsequent general election, becoming as president of Honduras and Castro as first lady.
Xiomara Castro is of social democratic ideology.
First Lady of Honduras 2006
Xiomara Castro served as first lady of Honduras from January 2006 to June 28, 2009, when her husband was overthrown. Among her activities were the direction of the National Board of Social Welfare, the Honduran female representation within the conventions and assemblies of first ladies of the American continent and also the accompaniment of her husband in the protocol trips of the Presidential Agenda .
As First Lady, she stood out nationally and internationally for her social programs and leadership with the United Nations in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP)
She was one of the main leaders in the popular struggles, after the ouster of her husband from the government in June 2009. She led movements and protests in the streets and public places throughout the country.
On July 7, 2009, she led a march in Tegucigalpa demanding the restoration of her husband to power. It was through this and other marches that Xiomara became known in the militancy of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), which demanded the return of Zelaya.
Foundation of the Freedom and Refoundation Party (LIBRE)
In March 2011, Manuel Zelaya, together with Xiomara Castro, founded the Partido Libertad y Refundación (LIBRE). On July 1, 2012, Castro launched her candidacy for this party in a ceremony held in the department of Santa Bárbara, being her candidate “by consensus” of all 5 internal movements. After having obtained the presidential candidacy without internal opposition, Castro lost the 2013 general elections, coming second with 896,498 votes, 28.8%, behind the nationalist Juan Orlando Hernández, who obtained 36.9%. That, plus the obtaining of the second largest number of deputies by Libre, meant the displacement to a third place of the Liberal Party of Honduras, breaking the prevailing bipartisanship in the Central American country since the 20th century.
On August 28, 2016, Castro again launched her presidential candidacy, this time in Tegucigalpa. She was a pre-candidate for 7 internal movements in Libre, and she won the official candidacy in the internal elections of March 2017 with 401,474 votes, 86.9%, defeating the movements of Rasel Tomé and Nelson Ávila. For the general elections that same year, she ceded her candidacy after forming the Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship between Libre and the Innovation and Unity Party, which chose Salvador Nasralla as its presidential candidate. Castro became his candidate for first presidential appointee. The Alliance lost the elections with 1,360,442 votes, 41.4%, against the re-elected president Juan Orlando Hernández who obtained 42.9%.
First President of Honduras
On January 25, 2020, she launched her official candidacy for the third time at a rally in the city of San Pedro Sula, having announced her intention to participate again in the electoral contest since November of the previous year. In the internal elections of March 2021, Castro participated as a pre-candidate for 6 internal movements, winning her opponents Carlos Eduardo Reina, Wilfredo Méndez and Nelson Ávila with 404,238 votes, 79.1%.
General Elections November 28, 2021
A little over a month before the November 2021 general elections, Salvador Nasralla, then a candidate for the Honduran National Opposition Unit (UNOH) alliance made up of his Salvador Party of Honduras and the Innovation and Unity Party, resigned from said candidacy to to become the candidate for the first presidential appointee for Libre (accompanying Castro in the presidential formula).
The former candidate for the first presidential appointee by UNOH, Doris Gutiérrez, also resigned to become the candidate for the second presidential appointee by Libre. This self-styled “alliance of the people” represented a considerable increase in the intention to vote for Castro, according to the Center for the Study of Democracy (CESPAD). Castro won the elections, becoming the first woman elected president in Honduras.
According to official figures, Xiomara Castro obtained 1,716,793 votes (51.12%) compared to 1,240,260 votes (36.93%) for Nasry “Tito” Asfura, the candidate of the National Party (PN), and 335,762 votes (10.00%) for the Liberal Party (PL) candidate. ), Yani Rosenthal