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Doctor Johana Guicel Bermúdez Lacayo Makes Herstory

“Change is the process by which the future invades our lives, and it is important that we look at it closely, not only from the grand perspective of History, but also from the vantage point of the living, breathing individuals who experience it” (Tofler 1970). Eighty-nine years afterCatarino Castro Serrano became the first Garifuna elected to the National Congress of Honduras in 1928; a Garifuna woman achieved the highest number of votes in the democratic history of Honduras. There’s is no question that change is happening in the Honduran Garifuna Community.

Dr. Johana Bermúdez Lacayo, is an enterprising, fighter and very spiritual woman, who has worked with determination and tenacity to get where she is. from humble, Afro-Honduran Garifuna descent roots, Bermúdez managed to climb the ladder of success, first on a personal level in the academic field in the area of health and then did the same in the field of politics.

Bermudez is a Specialist in Internal Medicine and Dermatology and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health and another in Epidemiology and manages her private clinic in Tegucigalpa. She has a teaching position at the National Autonomous University of Honduras.

Dr. Johana Guicel Bermúdez Lacayo became the first black congresswoman elected to the Honduras National Congress by the National Party of Honduras, since its institutional founding on February 27, 1902. A very interesting phenomenon and she’s also the only black woman who has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the National Party, composed of its first twelve (12) members, based in the Capital of the Republic.

Dr. Johana Bermúdez was elected Congresswoman in the National Congress of Honduras representing the department of Francisco Morazán in the 2017 General Elections of Honduras. Impressively, she was the fourth most voted Congressperson in the list of 23 from Francisco Morazán, surpassing traditional figures of the National Party, such as Antonio Rivera Callejas, Oswaldo Ramos Soto, Oscar Álvarez and Renán Inestroza. She is the most voted Honduran woman at the legislative elective level and the most voted woman in the democratic history of Honduras, despite being the 227thcandidate on the ballot.

Bermúdez is president of the Commission of Modernization and Institutional Communication of the National Congress of Honduras, she’s also a member of the Health Commission.

Last month, Congresswoman Bermúdez introduced a bill where she proposes to create public libraries in all 298 municipalities of Honduras, called “Blue Lupine”, a term derived from “lupins”, the name of a wild flower that grows in Canada; which when it blooms, spreads its seeds beginning the multiplication process. According to Bermúdez, among the benefits of these spaces for recreation and generation of cultural dynamics, is the recovery of the social fabric, prevention of violence, strengthening of citizen participation, inclusion and nourishment of a culture of peace. The creation of these libraries in all the municipalities of the country would leave an exemplary educational precedent, promoting the love of reading, art and national identity in order to achieve a quality academic performance.

Bermúdez is director of the National Diabetic Institute (INADI), whose objective is to carry out research, prevention, diagnostic promotion and treatment of diabetes. Among its attributions, is promoting the education of the population in terms of healthy habits, especially those of relating to food, general care and preventive medical control that lead to the early detection of diabetes. Last December, a draft bill was presented in Congress, to declare the month of November as the National Month of Prevention of Diabetes and Solidarity with People Living with the Diabetes Mellitus Disease.

Dr. Bermúdez was a member of the Board of Directors of the Medical Association of Honduras and served as Secretary of Educational and Cultural Affairs and president of the National Center for Continuing Medical Education (CENEMEC), during the 2016-2018 period. The mission of CENEMEC is the planning and management of continuous training, recertification, representation of the College before the Medical Contest Committee, integration of special commissions, organization of the National Medical Congress and presiding the Board of Directors and General Assembly of CENEMEC, based on the law of the Medical Association and its regulations and resolutions of the General Assembly and Board of Directors, so that the members keep up to date scientifically, to provide quality services.

Dr. Lacayo is the daughter of Suamy Bermúdez Róchez and the teacher Martha Ramona Lacayo. She was born in 1971 in Santa Rosa de Aguan, Colon. She is the third of six siblings.

She grew up in the city of La Ceiba, Atlántida in Honduras, where she sold coconut bread and candy to help her mother survive. It was during a sales tour in one of the residential areas of La Ceiba that a client asked her what school she attended and she responded that she was finishing her primary education, but could not continue her studies due to her mother’s financial situation. The lady informed her of the availability of a scholarship from the City of La Ceiba, for people of limited resources and suggested that her mother inquire.

Her mother inquired, and managed to obtain a scholarship, which allowed her to complete her secondary studies at the San Isidro Institute, where she graduated as an accountant. She attended the Autonomous University of Honduras in Tegucigalpa. Her grandfather Alfonso Lacayo was the first Garifuna doctor in Honduras and he was her inspiration. She is the mother of 6 children

Dr. Johana Guicel Bermúdez Lacayo’s motto, is “Our attitude makes the DIFFERENCE!” When we analyze her trajectory from her humble roots, that with her tenacity, managed to climb the ladder of success, first on a personal level in the academic field in the area of health and then did the same in the field of politics! There is no doubt that she is a great pride for our community, and an example to follow!

Sources:
Doctora Johana Bermúdez será la primera garífuna diputada del Partido Nacional, Kenny Castillo, noviembre 28, 2017
Afrodescendiente Johana Bermúdez irrumpe en política para legislar a favor de la salud, Proceso Digital, Domingo, 10 diciembre 2017
Proponen en el Congreso Nacional crear 298 bibliotecas Blue Lupin, Clarissa Donaire Presencia Universitaria 13 de febrero 2019
LXXXIII Sesión de Cátedra Perú: “Participación con enfoque inclusivo. Un desafío para la democracia en Latinoamérica”, un aporte de la USMP en contra de la Violencia Política contra la Mujer, Daniel Quispichito, Santa Anita, 19 de abril de 2018 Oficina de Relaciones Públicas e Imagen Institución.

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