Xiomara Castro

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This name uses Honduran naming customs. The paternal family name is Castro and the husband's family name is Zelaya.
Xiomara Castro
Xiomara Castro.jpg
First Lady of Honduras
In office
27 January 2006 – 28 June 2009
Preceded by Aguas Ocaña
Succeeded by Siomara Girón
Personal details
Born Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento
(1959-09-30) September 30, 1959 (age 55)
Santa Bárbara, Honduras[1]
Political party Libertad y Refundación
Spouse(s) Manuel Zelaya (m. 1976)

Iris Xiomara Castro de Zelaya or simply Xiomara Castro (born September 30, 1959) is a Honduran politician. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the 2013 Honduran presidential election representing the left-wing Libre Party. The wife of deposed former President Manuel Zelaya, Castro was a leader of the movement resisting the 2009 Honduran coup d'état that ousted her husband from power prematurely.

Early life[edit]

The second of five children, she attended primary and secondary school in Tegucigalpa at the San Jose del Carmen Institute and the Maria Auxiliadora Institute, respectively, and she earned a degree in Business Administration without attending university.[2]

In January 1976, Xiomara married Manuel Zelaya. Immediately after the wedding, they made their home in Catacamas, Olancho.

She played an active part in the "Association of Spouses of Members of the Rotary Club of Catacamas" as well as the activities developed within the group to take care of the children in need in the Olancho department. She took part in the creation of the "Centro de Cuidado Diurno para Niños en Catacamas" (Children's Daily Care Center in Catacamas), with the aim of offering assistance to single-parent families led by women including through the creation of projects of basic cleaning, sowing of vegetables and floriculture, as important projects of job development.

Political career[edit]

In Catacamas, Castro organized the women's branch of the Liberal Party of Honduras and conducted a strong campaign in favor of her husband in the internal elections of February 2005, an occasion in which she was in charge of sub-political coordination of Catacamas.

As First Lady of Honduras, Castro was in charge of social development programs, and she worked with the United Nations in coalition with other first ladies to address issues faced by women with HIV.[3]

Following the removal of her husband in the June 28, 2009 coup d'état, Castro led the movement resisting the coup d'état, repeatedly joining thousands of Hondurans in the streets calling for Zelaya's return.[4] This movement became known as the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) and formed the basis for the political party Libre.[4] Castro joined her husband in the Brazilian embassy, where he had taken refuge after returning to Honduras before reaching a negotiation with the de facto regime.[3]

Presidential campaign[edit]

On July 1, 2012, Castro officially launched her presidential campaign at an event in the department of Santa Barbara.[2] She then won her party's primary on November 18, 2012,[5] and on June 16, 2013, Castro was officially chosen to represent Libre in the 2013 Honduran presidential election.[4] Castro has come out opposed to neoliberalism, the militarization of society, and she has camapigned for a constituent assembly to write a new constitution.[4]

Leading up to the election, Castro was leading in the polls among all eight candidates during the months of March through October.[4][3][6] However, in the final poll before the election, Castro fell to second place, behind the current President of the National Congress, Juan Orlando Hernández of the National Party of Honduras.[7][8] Castro and Hernández are widely seen as the two leading candidates going into the election.[9][8]


  1. ^ "Xiomara Castro: Gobierno fracasó en su política de seguridad". El Tiempo. October 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-09.  (Spanish)
  2. ^ a b "Xiomara Castro Sarmiento". Proceso Digital. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  3. ^ a b c Alberto Arce (June 22, 2013). "Deposed Honduran Leader's Wife Leads in Polls". Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Alberto Arce (June 16, 2013). "Xiomara Castro lanza candidatura en Honduras". Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 2013-11-06.  (Spanish)
  5. ^ "Abogados de derecha disputarán la presidencia a Xiomara Castro, la esposa de Mel Zelaya". El Faro. November 18, 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-06.  (Spanish)
  6. ^ Noé Leiva (October 24, 2013). "A un mes de las elecciones, la izquierdista Xiomara Castro encabeza las encuestas". El Faro. Retrieved 2013-11-10.  (Spanish)
  7. ^ "A un mes de las elecciones, JOH aventaja por cinco punto a Xiomara Castro". La Prensa. November 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-10.  (Spanish)
  8. ^ a b Eric Sabo & Isabella Cota (October 31, 2013). "Debut Honduran Bonds Rally as Polls Show Tighter Election". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  9. ^ Ero Meyer (October 30, 2013). "Election Update . . Chile, Honduras, and Venezuela". TransAtlantic Magazine. Retrieved 2013-11-10.