wife of ousted Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya
Much of the buzz surrounding Manuel Zelaya’s return to Honduras centered on whether his wife, Xiomara Castro, will run for president. During a press conference on Sunday, Zelaya said, "The one who is engaged in politics is the first lady. I’m just a simple citizen." In an interview with Democracy Now! in Honduras, Castro addresses the prospect of seeking office and her thoughts upon returning from exile. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: As President Zelaya has returned to Honduras through a deal brokered by Venezuela and Colombia between Zelaya and the current president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, there’s been a great deal of buzz about whether his wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, will run for president. During the news conference he held in his living room on Sunday, President Zelaya said, quote, "The one who is engaged in politics is the first lady. I’m just a simple citizen." Well, we went with Zelaya on the flight from Managua to Tegucigalpa with the whole Zelaya family. On the way to the presidential palace on Saturday, the former first lady, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, stopped for coffee, and I asked her about the possibility of her running for president.
AMY GOODMAN: President Zelaya cannot run for president again, is that right? But Mrs. Zelaya, Mrs. Castro de Zelaya, you could, is that right?
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] The law does not prevent me from doing that. I do not have any obstacle in order to participate in the process. It is an electoral process. But at this moment —
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, you could run for president?
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] No, what I’m saying is that I do not have any obstacles. The law does not stop me from doing it.
AMY GOODMAN: So you could run for president, if you chose?
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] Yes, the law does not stop me. That is very clear. The law does stop it. The law does stop Mel from doing that, because the process of the same law establishes that only one president can be president for four years.
AMY GOODMAN: You’re saying that President Zelaya did not serve out his full term. Is there any kind of allowance that is made for that? Same thing happened to President Aristide in Haiti.
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] No, there is no established procedure to make that happen.
AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday at the Zelaya residence, I had a chance to formally sit down with the former first lady, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, to ask whether she believes that those responsible for the coup should be punished. I started by asking her how she feels about being back home.
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] Well, I’m feeling quite content. I still can’t believe it. It feels like a dream, or a lie even, to think that here, the family is here. Sometimes when I go from one room to the other, it feels as if I’m still alone and it’s not reality, what is happening here.
AMY GOODMAN: But you do have the bullet holes in the back door.
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] The truth is that I never believed that we would pass such a horrible, difficult moment. I remember when Mel won the presidency. That very day, he told us, "What is coming ahead is not easy. I am not going to be one of the others who have done what they always do. I have come here to make profound and real change." And so, that very day that he won the elections, he made a proposal to us, the family: "I think it is best for the family to go overseas, because I am actually going to take real actions that I don’t want you to be implicated by." And the family took the decision to stay here and to accompany him. Even having known the process of the three-and-a-half years previous of government that we had, even knowing all of that — I had already been warned that it wasn’t going to be easy — but even under all of that, I still could not imagine that the moment would come to do what they did in taking him out of his home in the way that they did and to create such a division in our country that has affected especially the people of Honduras.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think those who fomented this coup should be punished?
XIOMARA CASTRO DE ZELAYA: [translated] I believe that the law itself determines what should happen. We can arrive at a pardon. We can arrive at forgetting. But when there are such grievous violations of human rights, then you cannot do justice. And so many have lost their lives to claim for their own human rights and their rights for freedom and that they be heard. And this is the same rights that the constitution guarantees they should have. It’s not me who is the judge. The opposite is more true. From what I have received and from what all we have passed, I do not have any resentments, and I am not rancorous about any of it. But yes, we believe in justice and that justice should in fact be complied with, with those people who committed assassinations against persons who are humble people from various sectors. They were believing that they were acting according to what was their own truth.
AMY GOODMAN: Former first lady of Honduras, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, speaking from her home in Tegucigalpa.