Vice President Kamala Harris is on the road again, seeking ways to help the U.S. border crisis. This time, she attended the inauguration of the new Honduran President Xiomara Castro, the first woman elected to the position in that country. The two women met after the event to discuss immigration, with Harris promising more American taxpayer dollars in aid.
The VP was tasked by President Joe Biden to address illegal immigration by going after the “root” of the problem, and according to the administration, that root stems from other nations – not the United States’ own borders. Since Honduras is one of the three northern triangle countries from where migrants are flooding into the U.S., Harris evidently hoped to build a rapport with Castro that might help stem the flood.
Harris, along with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Director Samantha Power, landed in Honduras on the morning of Jan. 27.
Castro’s inauguration was held in a packed soccer stadium in Tegucigalpa, the capital city. The new president said it was going to be impossible to fix the nation’s debt problem without a lot of changes being made. Juan Orlando Hernandez, who served as the leader for eight years, has been accused of having links to drug traffickers. “This explains the caravans of thousands of people of all ages who flee north to Mexico and the U.S. looking for a place and a way to survive without worrying about the dangers to their lives,” Castro told the thousands of people in attendance. She has vowed to clean up the corruption, which she hopes will lessen the flow of Hondurans leaving to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
Castro and Harris Discuss Core Issues
After the ceremony, Harris and Castro met to talk about immigration and other issues. According to the VP’s office, “They discussed deepening our cooperation across a broad range of issues, including addressing the root causes of migration, combatting corruption, and expanding economic opportunity.”
Harris was generous with Americans’ money and assets, saying the U.S. would donate “several hundred thousand” COVID vaccines in the next two weeks. This is in addition to the three million doses the administration sent to the country in 2021.
The VP also promised more than 500,000 pediatric syringes as well as $1.35 million to help schools stay open. And, if that wasn’t enough, she pledged $500,000 to the Honduran government’s communications campaign.
Third Time’s the Charm
This was Castro’s third run for president. She was first lady to her husband, Manuel Zelaya, whose presidency ended with a military coup in 2009.
The first female Honduran president has a challenge ahead of her. The country is in the midst of a legislative crisis among its economic and other issues. Lawmakers still have not decided who will lead the newly elected Congress, which could affect how much Castro will be able to work with VP Harris. Rival candidates have named themselves as head of Congress which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the new president to pass legislation.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.