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Xiomara Castro declares victory in Honduran presidential election

HONDURAS appears to have delivered a hammer blow to US regional hegemony after left-wing presidential candidate Xiomara Castro declared victory today.

She promised to lead a government of reconciliation and strengthen direct democracy in the Central American country.

“There will be no more abuse of power in this country,” Ms Castro said, adding: “Today, the people have made justice. We have reversed authoritarianism.”

Early exit polls showed her winning 53 per cent of the vote, a 20-point lead over her closest rival, Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura.

Despite Ms Castro’s seemingly unassailable lead, Mr Asfura’s National Party also declared victory, raising fears of a potential US-backed coup attempt.

Turnout in the election was described as “massive” in a statement by electoral council president Kelvin Aguirre. 

Final vote tallies are, however, likely to be delayed after 8 per cent of the polling stations reported transmission problems.

Victory for Ms Castro, the candidate of the Liberation and Refoundation Party, would bring an end to 12 years of rule by the National Party, which came to power after a 2009 Washington-backed coup against her husband Manuel Zelaya.

She would also be Honduras’s first female president.

Ms Castro has already ruffled feathers in the US after vowing to “immediately open diplomatic and commercial relations with China” while downgrading ties with Taiwan, the latest focal point of the Washington-led new cold war.

There were allegations of US bullying after the State Department pressed the presidential candidates to maintain Honduras’s relations with Taipei, which were first established in 1941.

Similarly, Taiwan’s authorities urged the Honduran contenders not to fall for China’s “flashy and false” promises.

Beijing urged Washington to respect Honduran sovereignty, arguing that such behaviour was unlikely to win the US many friends in the region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned the US against continuing its “hegemonic behaviour” in Central America, highlighting its role in coups and other acts of aggression.

Street parties and celebrations took place across Honduras ahead of the official announcement of the final result, which was due after the Morning Star had gone to press.

Nadine Borges, vice-president of the human rights commission of the Brazilian Bar Association in Rio de Janeiro, said that Ms Castro’s victory was a blow to imperialism.

“Latin America will rise again,” she said. “Long live the left!”

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