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Introduction Honduras
Part of Spain's vast empire in New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas. country previously devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage.
Geography Honduras
Middle America, bordering Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Geographic coordinates:
15 00 N, 86 30 W
Map references:
Central America and Caribbean
total: 112,090 sq km
land: 111,890 sq km
water: 200 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries:
total: 1,520 km
border countries: Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km
820 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m
Natural resources:
timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 15.15%
permanent crops: 3.13%
other: 81.72% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
760 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along Caribbean coast
Environment - current issues:
urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and clearing of land for agricultural purposes; further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands; mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the countries largest source of fresh water), as well as several rivers and streams, with heavy metals
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, includes virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
People Honduras
Total Population:
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.6% (male 1,414,791; female 1,357,537)
15-64 years: 54.8% (male 1,811,757; female 1,843,456)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 114,791; female 127,457) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.8 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 19.2 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
2.32% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
31.67 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
6.44 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-2.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
Population: 1 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 29.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 26.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 33.6 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 66.65 years
male: 65.31 years
female: 68.06 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.07 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.6% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
57,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
3,300 (2001 est.)
noun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority
Spanish, Amerindian dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 76.2%
male: 76.1%
female: 76.3% (2003 est.)
Government Honduras
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Honduras
conventional short form: Honduras
local short form: Honduras
local long form: Republica de Honduras
Government type:
democratic constitutional republic
Administrative divisions:
18 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Atlantida, Choluteca, Colon, Comayagua, Copan, Cortes, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Gracias a Dios, Intibuca, Islas de la Bahia, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Valle, Yoro
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended 1995
Legal system:
rooted in Roman and Spanish civil law with increasing influence of English common law; recent judicial reforms include abandoning Napoleonic legal codes in favor of oral adversarial system; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ricardo (Joest) MADURO (since 27 January 2002); First Vice President Vicente WILLIAMS Agasse (since 27 January 2002); Second Vice President Armida Villela Maria DE LOPEZ Contreras (since 27 January 2002); Third Vice President Alberto DIAZ Lobo (since 27 January 2002); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ricardo (Joest) MADURO (since 27 January 2002); First Vice President Vicente WILLIAMS Agasse (since 27 January 2002); Second Vice President Armida Villela Maria DE LOPEZ Contreras (since 27 January 2002); Third Vice President Alberto DIAZ Lobo (since 27 January 2002); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 25 November 2001 (next to be held NA November 2005)
election results: Ricardo (Joest) MADURO (PN) elected president - 52.2%, Raphael PINEDA Ponce (PL) 44.3%, others 3.5%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members are elected proportionally to number of votes their party's presidential candidate receives to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 25 November 2001 (next to be held NA November 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PN 61, PL 55, PUD 5, PDC 4, PINU-SD 3
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges are elected for seven-year terms by National Congress)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Dr. Hernan CORRALES Padilla]; Democratic Unification Party or PUD [leader NA]; Liberal Party or PL [Roberto MICHELETTI Bain]; National Innovation and Unity Party-Social Democratic Party or PINU-SD [Olban F. VALLADARES]; National Party of Honduras or PN [Raphael CALLEJAS]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Committee for Defense of Human Rights in Honduras or CODEH; Confederation of Honduran Workers or CTH; Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations or CCOP; General Workers Confederation or CGT; Honduran Council of Private Enterprise or COHEP; National Association of Honduran Campesinos or ANACH; National Union of Campesinos or UNC; Popular Bloc or BP; United Federation of Honduran Workers or FUTH
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mario Miguel CANAHUATI
honorary consulate(s): Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Jacksonville
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Tampa
FAX: [1] (202) 966-9751
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2604
chancery: Suite 4-M, 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Larry Leon PALMER
embassy: Avenida La Paz, Apartado Postal No. 3453, Tegucigalpa
mailing address: American Embassy, APO AA 34022, Tegucigalpa
telephone: [504] 238-5114, 236-9320
FAX: [504] 236-9037
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with five blue, five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern centered in white band; stars represent members of former Federal Republic of Central America - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; similar to flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in white band; also similar to flag of Nicaragua, which features a triangle encircled by word REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on bottom, centered in white band
Economy Honduras
Economy - overview:
Honduras, one of poorest countries in Western Hemisphere with an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, is banking on expanded trade privileges under Enhanced Caribbean Basin Initiative and on debt relief under Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. While country has met most of its macroeconomic targets, it failed to meet IMF's goals to liberalize its energy and telecommunications sectors. Growth remains dependent on status of US economy, its major trading partner, on commodity prices, particularly coffee, and on reduction of high crime rate.
buying power parity - $16.29 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $2,500 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 32%
services: 54% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
53% (1993 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.6%
highest 10%: 42.7% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
56.3 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.7% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
2.3 million (1997 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 34%, industry 21%, services 45% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
28% (2002 est.)
revenues: $607 million
expenditures: $411.9 million, includes capital expenditures of $106 million (1999 est.)
sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products
Industrial production growth rate:
4% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production:
3.778 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 50.2%
hydro: 49.8%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
3.822 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
308 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
29,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp
$1.3 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, bananas, shrimp, lobster, meat; zinc, lumber (2000)
Exports - partners:
US 69.5%, El Salvador 3%, Guatemala 2% (2002)
$2.7 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs (2000)
Imports - partners:
US 55.3%, El Salvador 4.3%, Mexico 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$5.4 billion (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
$557.8 million (1999)
lempira (HNL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
lempiras per US dollar - 16.43 (2002), 15.47 (2001), 14.84 (2000), 14.21 (1999), 13.39 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Honduras
Telephones - main lines in use:
234,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
14,427 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: inadequate system
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 241, FM 53, shortwave 12 (1998)
2.45 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
11 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)
570,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
8 (2000)
Internet users:
40,000 (2000)
Transportation Honduras
total: 699 km
narrow gauge: 279 km 1.067-m gauge; 420 km 0.914-m gauge (2002)
total: 13,603 km
paved: 2,775 km
unpaved: 10,828 km (1999 est.)
465 km (navigable by limited craft)
Ports and harbors:
La Ceiba, Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela, Puerto Lempira
Merchant marine:
total: 250 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 680,784 GRT/765,815 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Argentina 1, Bahrain 1, Belize 1, British Virgin Islands 1, Bulgaria 1, China 8, Costa Rica 1, Cyprus 1, Egypt 6, El Salvador 1, Germany 1, Greece 18, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 2, Italy 1, Japan 7, Lebanon 4, Liberia 4, Maldives 2, Marshall Islands 1, Mexico 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 1, Panama 14, Philippines 1, Romania 2, Russia 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and Grenadines 1, Singapore 24, South Korea 12, Spain 1, Syria 1, Taiwan 4, Tanzania 1, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Turkey 2, Turks and Caicos Islands 1, United Arab Emirates 6, UK 1, US 5, Vanuatu 1, Vietnam 1, Virgin Islands (UK) 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 18, cargo 140, chemical tanker 4, container 7, livestock carrier 2, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 55, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 4, short-sea passenger 4, specialized tanker 1
115 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 103
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 83 (2002)
Military Honduras
Military branches:
Army, Navy (including marines), Air Force
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,594,266 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 948,957 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 74,895 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$35 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.6% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Honduras
Disputes - international:
in 1992, ICJ ruled on delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along El Salvador-Honduras border, but they still remain largely undemarcated; in 2002, El Salvador filed an application to ICJ to revise decision on a section of bolsones; ICJ also advised a tripartite resolution to a maritime boundary in Golfo de Fonseca with consideration of Honduran access to Pacific; El Salvador claims tiny Conejo Island, not mentioned by ICJ, off Honduras in Golfo de Fonseca; Honduras claims Sapodilla Cays off coast of Belize but agreed to creation of a joint ecological park and Guatemalan corridor in Caribbean in 2002 Belize-Guatemala Differendum; Nicaragua filed a claim against Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at ICJ over a complex maritime dispute in Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for drugs and narcotics; illicit producer of cannabis, cultivated on limited plots and used principally for local consumption; corruption is a major problem; some money-laundering activity