Xiomara Castro faces her first crisis four days before taking office in Honduras
TEGUCIGALPA.- The rebellion within the Honduran left has caused two different parliaments to compete for the legitimacy and legality of the legislative power. Y all this when Xiomara Castro counts down the hours to be sworn in as the first female president of the Central American country in a ceremony scheduled for Thursday, which will feature the presence of the Argentine vice presidents, Cristina Kirchner, and American, Kamala Harris.
Two congresses with their own legislative heads and with mutual accusations of violation of legal procedures. On the one hand, it is the majority bloc, which has confirmed Jorge Calix, a militant expelled in the last hours from the ruling party Libertad y Refundación (Libre) and most voted deputy in historyin front of Parliament. Cálix, very close to the Castro/Mel Zelaya couple until the beginning of the crisis, has the support of 79 of the 128 deputies: the 19 “traitors” of Libre together with the 44 parliamentarians of the right-wing National Party (PN) until now in power, plus a group of liberals.
The splinter group is commanded by Beatriz Valle, former vice chancellor of Zelaya and new secretary of the board of directors parliamentary, who has refused to accept the Opposition Pact, prior to the elections, reached between his party and the Salvador Party (PSH), commanded by the elected vice president, Salvador Nasralla. The agreement awarded the presidency of the National Congress to one of the 10 PSH deputies in exchange for his electoral support.
Since Saturday night, the surroundings of the Congress building have been taken over by those loyal to the Castro/Zelaya couple. Without electricity, the block of the new alliance moved to the north of Tegucigalpa -the Bosques de Zambrano club- where the parliamentary constitution ceremony took place. “This board of directors is at the disposal of the president-elect Xiomara Castro. There will be no coup d’état against him”, assured Cálix to increase the political entanglement.
“Mel and Xiomara are the ones who have betrayed the town. I did not vote for this, Xiomara is a (Nicolás) Maduro, is worse than Juan Orlando Hernandez (outgoing president)”, accused Valle, who also revealed that his former boss had not lifted a finger to support the rival candidacy.
The ruling party blames the maneuvers in the dark on Hernández, about whom accused of drug trafficking from the United States, where his brother Antonio was sentenced to life imprisonment. The rebel parliament was surrounded in its makeshift headquarters by Castro supporters, which forced Cálix to leave the premises by helicopter and protected by escorts, in what seemed to be a coordinated action by forces of the current government.
The other side did not shrink from the majority bloc and confirmed Luis Redondo as its legislative president, supported by his “legitimacy.” “We do not recognize another board of directors, we represent the will of the people”, Redondo stressed from the official chamber of Congress.
The winner of the presidential elections last year supported the second Parliament with her presence and blessed the election of Redondo, a PSH deputy. “I invite you (Redondo) to my swearing-in with the people on January 27. I congratulate deputies who reject 12 years of corruption networks of JOH (Hernández). We won!” cried Xiomara Castro, who even gave her first orders to the police guarding Congress.
“Anything Cálix does elsewhere has no reason to be or legal validity”, protested Nasralla, the main victim of such a strange maneuver.
Castro has to decide how he will be sworn in next Thursday: in the second Parliament, which is a minority; before the Supreme Court of Justice (in which JOH has a majority) or before a civil judge.
Honduras lives in this way a new political crisis, with a national blush included after the shameful fight with kicks and punches in the provisional constitution of Congress last Friday. So bizarre is the new scenario that it has surprisingly united Hernández’s deputies, who desperately seeks a shield to protect himself from possible extradition to the US, with close collaborators of Zelaya, the leader who suffered a coup in 2009 when he tried to impose a Constituent Assembly with the support of his greatest ally, Hugo Chávez.
Zelaya is today the strong man of Libre and the one who manages the Opposition Alliance with Nasralla. The presidential couple has received the support of the Puebla Group, who denounced the “unforgivable betrayal” of some deputies who have put “the political stability of the country” at risk.