U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Honduras on Thursday to attend the inauguration of Xiomara Castro as the Central American nation’s first female president.
Harris attendance at the historic event underscores her role in leading President Joe Biden’s efforts to curb the migration of hundreds of thousands of people from Honduras and neighboring El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico into the United States each year, many of them traveling on foot over thousands of kilometers. Harris has been specifically tasked with addressing the root causes of the mass migration, including poverty and crime.
Biden pledged to adopt a more humane stance on migration than that of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who expelled migrants back to their home countries and separated children from their families.
Also attending Castro’s swearing-in will be Vice President William Lai of Taiwan. Castro has talked of switching Honduras’s diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, which claims the self-ruled as part of its territory and has pushed to isolate Taipei from the international community.
Castro campaigned on a platform of ending the corruption that had clouded the 12-year rule of the right-wing National Party, which took power after her husband, Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown by the military. But her tenure has already gotten off to a rocky start after a breakaway faction of her Liberty and Refoundation Party, or Libre, elected lawmaker Jorge Calix to be their congressional leader last weekend.
The move went against an agreement Castro reached with the Partido Salvador de Honduras party, a key part of her political alliance that helped her win last November’s election, to choose PSH lawmaker Luis Redondo as congressional leader.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.