Is Socialist Victory in Honduras a Win for Venezuela and CCP China?

Xiomara Castro / Screenshot from the BBC News via YouTube

ANALYSIS – The radical left has just won power in Honduras after 12 years of sometimes corrupt conservative rule. Democratic socialist Xiomara Castro Zelaya became president-elect after her National Party rival conceded on Tuesday. While Castro ran heavily on an anti-corruption platform, many fear her hardcore socialist ideology lies just below the surface.

Castro’s Freedom and Refoundation Party program still seeks to “re-found” the country following “socialist democratic” principles. And many fear that she is simply a pawn to get her husband’s far left team back in office.

Castro is the wife of Manuel Zelaya, a former radical leftist president backed by Socialist Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who was removed from office in 2009 for violating the Constitution in his attempt to stay in office beyond limits established by the law.

The left called it “a coup.” The Hondurans called it the “rule of law.”

Zelaya was his wife’s campaign manager. His role in her government remains uncertain but his pulling her strings is expected.

She also promised a diplomatic opening to CCP China. Honduras is one of only a few countries that still maintain relations with Taiwan. However, in a blow to Beijing, she may now be reversing that pro-CCP position.

As the Washington Post notes:

She will succeed President Juan Orlando Hernández, whose last term in office was clouded by investigations into his alleged ties to drug trafficking. Hernández’s brother, Tony, was sentenced in U.S. federal court this year to life in prison plus 30 years for drug trafficking. Juan Orlando Hernández was implicated in the court filings. He has denied wrongdoing.

Castro has promised to end what she deemed a narco-state.

But migration is the key concern for the United States as Honduras is now the biggest source of migration to the U.S. While Biden-Harris is flailing at creating a  policy aimed at supposedly deterring migration, the Honduran  economy greatly depends on money sent home by its citizens working in the United States.

These remittances account for upwards of 20 percent of the country’s GDP and is a key reason these countries push their people to the U.S. illegally.

While Castro has said she would prioritize migration in talks with Biden-Harris, she has also referred to migration “as a social fact and as a right” which sharply contradicts the Biden-Harris’ alleged focus on deterrence. Unlike President Trump, Biden has so far struggled to find leaders in Central America to partner with his team on migration policy.

The radical left is now celebrating.

The current Socialist leader of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, most recently the beneficiary of yet another fraudulent election in 2020, congratulated Xiomara Castro Zelaya via Twitter on Mondayfor her “historic victory.”

“Twelve years after the coup against Brother Manuel Zelaya, the people of (Francisco) Morazán resume the path of hope, granting a historic victory to the president-elect, Xiomara Castro,” the Venezuelan leader said.

“La Patria Grande celebrates the triumph of democracy and peace in Honduras. Congratulations!” And Castro responded with a “thank you, President Maduro.”

While Maduro may be celebrating in Venezuela, the CCP may not be as happy. The government of incoming president Castro is now stating that it does not plan to establish diplomatic ties with CCP China.

Reuters reported that :

Salvador Nasralla … who is set to be one of Castro’s three vice presidents, told Reuters that any relations with China had to be weighed against ties with the United States.

When asked if Honduras would establish relations with China, Nasralla said: “No.”

“There are no relations with China, relations continue with Taiwan,” he added. “Our trade ally, our close ally, our historical ally is the United States. We don’t want to fight with the United States, the United States is our main trade ally.”

China’s Foreign Ministry last week accused the United States of “arm-twisting” in Honduras ahead of the election – a tactic they know very well. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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