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VP Kamala Harris travels to Honduras for presidential inauguration

By Simon Druker
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VP Kamala Harris travels to Honduras for presidential inauguration
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Honduras Thursday for the inauguration of the country's new president, Xiomara Castro. Castro is the first female president of Honduras. The two will also discuss a number of issues, likely including the thousands of migrants heading to the U.S. southern border. Pool Photo by Ting Shen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Honduras Thursday, to attend the inauguration of that country's new president, Xiomara Castro.

Harris is scheduled to meet the new leader Thursday afternoon, following the inauguration at the National Stadium of Tegucigalpa.

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"Our relationship with Honduras is an important one," tweeted Harris, before departing Joint Base Andrews.

The two will meet "to discuss deepening our cooperation across a broad range of issues between our two nations."

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That discussion will undoubtedly touch on the larger issue of migrants fleeing several central American countries including Honduras, and heading to the U.S. southern border.

"This visit is an opportunity for our two nations to deepen our cooperation on key issues, from anti-corruption, to economic recovery," Harris tweeted Wednesday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers encountered Houndran migrants on almost 320,000 occasions during the most recent statistical year, reports NPR.

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The director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, is on the trip with Harris, according to NPR.

Harris is expected to work to strengthen ties between the two countries. The relationship with the previous Honduran government was rocky. Former president Juan Orlando Hernández has been accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars in drug-related bribes.

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His brother Tony Hernandez was convicted in October 2016 in the Southern District of New York on charges of conspiring to import cocaine, weapons violations and lying to the DEA.

Other countries in the region like El Salvador and Guatemala, have had their own issues with violence and political corruption.

The United States is looking at "a whole range of different ways" to help Honduras, CNN reported.

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The report adds that U.S. officials traveled to Honduras ahead of Harris' trip for the inauguration, in an attempt to gauge the country's needs.

Castro is the country's first female president and a former first lady. Castro is married to former president Manuel Zelaya, who held the office from 2006 until 2009 when he was forced from office in a military coup.

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