Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento (1959) is a Honduras’ first female president. As the 56th president, she took office on 27 January 2022. She is joining this list of Women Presidents Around the World.
Castro became her political career in 2005. As first lady, she organised the women’s branch of the Liberal Party of Honduras and conducted a strong campaign in favour 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. Her husband, Manuel Zelaya, ruled the country from 2006 until 2009, when he was ousted by a coup.
Castro began her presidential bid in 2013 but came second to President of the National Congress, Juan Orlando Hernández of the National Party of Honduras. Her launched her second presidential campaign in 2017. She easily won the primary, but when Libre formed an alliance with the Innovation and Unity Party, she agreed to step aside and let Salvador Nasralla lead the alliance’s presidential ticket.
Her 2021 third presidential campaign was a tight race between her and her right-wing opponent Nasry Asfura, of the incumbent National Party.
During her inaugural speech, Castro vowed to pursue social justice and transparency. President Castro has promised to tackle powerful drug trafficking gangs and liberalise strict abortion laws.
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