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Honduras wants Castro to clean up now

Regional 02 Dec, 2021 Follow News

New Honduras president Xiomara Castro has a tough job

Xiomara Castro, Honduras's first woman president, faces a daunting set of challenges. Castro won Monday’s general election by a clear margin and now faces tough obstacles in a country wracked by gang violence, drug trafficking, corruption, Covid-19 and widespread poverty.

According to Transparency International, Honduras is 157th out of 180 countries in its corruption perception index, making it one of the most graft-tainted places in the world.

Under outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernandez, the anti-corruption fight in Honduras suffered heavily in 2020 as he relaxed laws on corruption and pardoned government offenders accused of embezzling millions.

Castro will be to reverse laws and legislative reforms that previously allowed the current government to protect corrupt officials. It is a battle that she cannot win on her own, though and will rely on international support to do so.

The migrant problems need to be addressed too. More than a dozen migrant caravans have set off from Honduras since 2018 in the hope of reaching the United States.

Some of these consisted of thousands of people and former US president Donald Trump at one point threatened to deploy the US military to stop them. In 2021 alone 50,000 Honduran migrants have been sent home from either the US or Mexico.

The main solution is to create jobs. Castro's LIBRE party in its campaign promised mass employment. The Covid pandemic hit jobs particularly hard with unemployment almost doubling from 5.7 percent in 2019 to 10.9 percent in 2020. Around 59 percent of the population lives in poverty.

Drug trafficking has become such a problem in Honduras that it even pervades the upper echelons of government.

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