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Honduras[Country flag of Honduras]
[Country map of Honduras]

Introduction Honduras
Background:
Once part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage.
Geography Honduras
Location:
Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Geographic coordinates:
15 00 N, 86 30 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
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
Coastline:
820 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 nm
Climate:
subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
Terrain:
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: 9.55%
permanent crops: 3.22%
other: 87.23% (2001)
Irrigated land:
760 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast
Environment - current issues:
urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and the 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 country's 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 the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
People Honduras
Population:
6,975,204
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the 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 the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 40.8% (male 1,452,646/female 1,393,271)
15-64 years: 55.5% (male 1,921,432/female 1,948,656)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 122,146/female 137,053) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.15 years
male: 18.75 years
female: 19.56 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.16% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
30.38 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
6.87 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 29.32 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 32.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.3 years
male: 67.71 years
female: 70.97 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.87 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.8% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
63,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
4,100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Honduran(s)
adjective: Honduran
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
Languages:
Spanish, Amerindian dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total 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 long form: Republica de Honduras
local short form: Honduras
Government type:
democratic constitutional republic
Capital:
Tegucigalpa
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
Independence:
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution:
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 the oral adversarial system; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
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 - the president is both the 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 - the president is both the 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 27 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 the number of votes their party's presidential candidate receives to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 25 November 2001 (next to be held 27 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 the National Congress)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Juan Ramon VELAZQUEZ Nassar]; Democratic Unification Party or PUD [Matias FUNES]; 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 [Jose Celin DISCUA Elvir]; United Confederation of Honduran Workers or CUTH
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Committee for the 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:
ABEDA, BCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: Suite 4-M, 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-7702
FAX: [1] (202) 966-9751
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco
honorary consulate(s): Boston, Detroit, Jacksonville
Diplomatic representation from the 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 the white band; the stars represent the members of the former Federal Republic of Central America - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Nicaragua, which features a triangle encircled by the word REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom, centered in the white band
Economy Honduras
Economy - overview:
Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income and massive unemployment, is banking on expanded trade under the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and on debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. The country has met most of its macroeconomic targets, and began a three-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PGRF) program in February 2004. Growth remains dependent on the economy of the US, its largest trading partner, on commodity prices, particularly coffee, and on reduction of the high crime rate.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$18.79 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.2% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $2,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.7%
industry: 32.1%
services: 55.3% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
2.47 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 34%, industry 21%, services 45% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
28.5% (2004 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% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
24.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $1.467 billion
expenditures: $1.722 billion, including capital expenditures of $106 million (2004 est.)
Public debt:
74.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp
Industries:
sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products
Industrial production growth rate:
7.7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
3.626 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 50.2%
hydro: 49.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
3.771 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
16 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
415 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
29,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
NA
Current account balance:
$258.3 million (2003 est.)
Exports:
$1.457 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, shrimp, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
Exports - partners:
US 54.4%, El Salvador 8.1%, Germany 5.9%, Guatemala 5.4% (2004)
Imports:
$3.332 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs (2000)
Imports - partners:
US 37.5%, Guatemala 6.9%, Mexico 5.4%, Costa Rica 4.3%, El Salvador 4% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.464 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$5.365 billion (September 2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$557.8 million (1999)
Currency (code):
lempira (HNL)
Currency code:
HNL
Exchange rates:
lempiras per US dollar - 18.206 (2004), 17.345 (2003), 16.433 (2002), 15.474 (2001), 14.839 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Honduras
Telephones - main lines in use:
322,500 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
326,500 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: inadequate system
domestic: NA
international: country code - 504; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 241, FM 53, shortwave 12 (1998)
Radios:
2.45 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
11 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions:
570,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.hn
Internet hosts:
1,944 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
8 (2000)
Internet users:
168,600 (2002)
Transportation Honduras
Railways:
total: 699 km
narrow gauge: 279 km 1.067-m gauge; 420 km 0.914-m gauge (2004)
Highways:
total: 13,603 km
paved: 2,775 km
unpaved: 10,828 km (1999 est.)
Waterways:
465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela
Merchant marine:
total: 137 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 598,600 GRT/616,158 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 10, cargo 67, chemical tanker 6, container 2, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 1, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 30, refrigerated cargo 9, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 44 (Canada 1, China 3, Egypt 1, Greece 4, Hong Kong 2, Israel 1, Japan 4, Lebanon 1, Mexico 1, Singapore 12, South Korea 6, Taiwan 2, Tanzania 1, Turkey 1, United States 2, Vanuatu 1, Vietnam 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (2005)
Airports:
115 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 104
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 84 (2004 est.)
Military Honduras
Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary 2-3 year military service (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,448,369 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 955,019 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 77,399 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$100.6 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.4% (2004)
Transnational Issues Honduras
Disputes - international:
in 1992, ICJ ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras border, but despite OAS intervention and a further ICJ ruling in 2003, full demarcation of the border remains stalled; the 1992 ICJ ruling advised a tripartite resolution to a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca with consideration of Honduran access to the Pacific; El Salvador continues to claim tiny Conejo Island, not mentioned in the ICJ ruling, off Honduras in the Gulf of Fonseca; Honduras claims Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize, but agreed to creation of a joint ecological park and Guatemalan corridor in the Caribbean in the failed 2002 Belize-Guatemala Differendum, which the OAS is attempting to revive; Nicaragua filed a claim against Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at the ICJ over a complex dispute over islands and maritime boundaries in the Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for drugs and narcotics; illicit producer of cannabis, cultivated on small plots and used principally for local consumption; corruption is a major problem; some money-laundering activity

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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