Women in Politics – December, 1998 An overview of some of the most influential women in Honduran society and politics.
The widow of the former mayor of Tegucigalpa, Dr. Cesar Castellanos (who recently died tragically in a helicopter accident whilst working in reconstructing the capitol) has officially been named as his replacement. We here at Honduras.com applaud this decision and sincerely wish Dr. Vilma Castellanos the best in her new position! She has quite a delicate challenge ahead of her since Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela were extremely battered by Hurricane Mitch.
We really don’t know much about the new mayor, just that she is an orthodontist by profession. Although this may not sound like the best training for the top spot in the capitol, she is in our opinion, the best individual suited to fill her husband’s position. However, one of our avid readers, Marvin R., succinctly questioned whether this sort of paternalistic succession should continue in Honduras. It is very important to remember that Honduras is a fledging democracy and rules of succession have yet to be written. Furthermore, her husband was the only key Nationalist party member elected into power in the past elections, and he came from a faction of that party (the official Nationalist candidate for president was Nora de Melgar whereas Dr. Castellanos supported the ROMA movement). In other words, we sincerely feel that she is the person who can best unify the capitol and Nationalist party at this extremely critical moment in history – the rebuilding of the country after Hurricane Mitch.
It’s very interesting to note how women are now playing key roles and shaping Honduran society – traditionally a very macho, latino one. This clash is especially noteworthy in the two ministries that are presently governed by women, that of security: Elizabeth Chiuz Sierra, and finance: Gabriela Nuñez. Obviously, whoever controls the country’s weapons and moneybags determines its future.
Then there are the foreign born women who are also helping to mold the new Honduras. The first lady, née Mary Flakes, was born in the United States and reportedly English is the language spoken within the household of President Carlos Flores. Mrs. Flores has been extremely active in the relief drive and helping children. Another United States native citizen, née Deborah de Moss, has also been influencing Honduran society behind the scenes with her contacts within the United States government, and with her extreme wealth. Then there is the President of Honduras.com also a woman at the helm of one of the most important Honduras internet websites, whose creativity and innovative ideas are prominent throughout our activities.
In summary, we sincerely hope that through the combined efforts of hard-working, ambitious women who love Honduras (such as the aforementioned ones), that the widely proclaimed “New Honduras” will evolve into a gentler, more law abiding society.