I thought I was only going to write two pieces on the upcoming elections. But yesterday the LIBRE presidential candidate, Xiomara Castro, was in Santa Rosa de Copán.
I went out to Dulce Nombre de Copán for the 9:00 am Mass. I wish I had gone to another Mass. The visiting priest droned on in his talk for 30 minutes, with no mention of the readings, and then spent ten minutes droning on about a letter from the bishops on the elections.
On the way to Dulce Nombre, I saw a few trucks loaded with people going to Santa Rosa for the gathering of LIBRE supporters. Many of them looked like campesinos, the poor of the countryside.
On the way back I found the main road into Santa Rosa blocked, with a line of pickups full of LIBRE supporters.
Someone told me that the police checkpoint was clogged and so I went by the long route – through small villages, a stream, and the road by the jail. For much of the time I tailed a pickup of National Party supporters who looked more like middle class guys (though I do know that many campesinos support the National Party).
I went home, had lunch, and then decided to take a walk. I waited a bit to avoid the intermittent showers. I wandered down to where the LIBRE gathering was, to take some pictures and maybe talk with some people I might know.
I saw loads of people leaving from where LIBRE was gathering. As I approached I could see, at a distance, Xiomara, her husband Mel, a vice-presidential candidate Juan Barahona, and Monseñor Luis Santos, the retired bishop of Santa Rosa.
They had finished speeches and the crowd was dispersing in the mist.
I was glad that I wasn’t around for the speeches. There is only so much political propaganda that I can take. Also, I didn’t want my presence to be seen as an endorsement of a candidate. That’s not my role as a non-Honduran.
I ran into a good number of people I know, some from the parish of Dulce Nombre, some I never expected to be LIBRE supporters.
As I was about to return home, I ran across a woman from Colonia Divina Providencia here in Santa Rosa, one of the poorest neighborhoods. I spoke with her a bit and then asked her why she was supporting Xiomara. “She’s a woman,” was the essence of her response. She talked a little about the need for someone who knows the plight of poor women here (though Xiomara is NOT poor.) She also mentioned how she may have supported candidates in earlier elections but they didn’t follow up on helping people like her, but were using them.
I wonder: Is Xiomara tapping in to the hidden concerns of women and the poor? If elected, would she really respond to the concerns of poor women throughout Honduras, especially rural women and single mothers?
I don’t know.
But whatever the election result, I won’t forget this poor woman’s sense of hope that a woman would be elected, someone who would know how woman live and struggle.