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Information About Honduras


Location: Middle America, between Guatemala and Nicaragua

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean, North America, Standard Time Zones of the World

total area 112,090 sq km
land area 111,890 sq km
comparative area slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries: total 1,520 km, Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km

Coastline: 820 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone 24 nm
continental shelf 200-m depth or to depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone 200 nm
territorial sea 12 nm

International disputes: land boundary dispute with El Salvador mostly resolved by 11 September 1992 International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision; ICJ referred the maritime boundary in the Golfo de Fonseca to an earlier agreement in this century and advised that some tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua likely would be required

Climate: subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains

Terrain: mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains

Natural resources: timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish

Land use:
arable land 14%
permanent crops 2%
meadows and pastures 30%
forest and woodland 34%
other 20%

Irrigated land: 900 sq km (1989 est.)

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 freshwater) with heavy metals as well as several rivers and streams
natural hazards subject to frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; damaging hurricanes and floods along Caribbean coast
international agreements party to - Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Tropical Timber


Population: 5,314,794 (July 1994 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.73% (1994 est.)

Birth rate: 34.97 births/1,000 population (1994 est.)

Death rate: 6.22 deaths/1,000 population (1994 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1994 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 45.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1994 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population 67.6 years
male 65.23 years
female 70.08 years (1994 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.71 children born/woman (1994 est.)

noun Honduran(s)
adjective Honduran

Ethnic divisions: mestizo (mixed Indian and European) 90%, Indian 7%, black 2%, white 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority

Languages: Spanish, Indian dialects

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population 73%
male 76%
female 71%

Labor force: 1.3 million
by occupation agriculture 62%, services 20%, manufacturing 9%, construction 3%, other 6% (1985)


conventional long form Republic of Honduras
conventional short form Honduras
local long form Republica de Honduras
local short form Honduras

Digraph: HO

Type: 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

Legal system: rooted in Roman and Spanish civil law; some influence of English common law; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government President Carlos Roberto REINA Idiaquez (since 27 January 1994); election last held on 28 November 1993 (next to be held November 1997); results - Carlos Roberto REINA Idiaquez (PLH) 53%, Oswaldo RAMOS Soto (PNH) 41%, other 6%
cabinet Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Congress (Congreso Nacional) elections last held on 27 November 1993 (next to be held November 1997); results - PNH 53%, PLH 41%, PDCH 1.0%, PINU-SD 2.5%, other 2.5%; seats - (134 total) PNH 55, PLH 77, PINU-SD 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justica)

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Party (PLH), Rafael PINEDA Ponce, president; National Party (PN) has two factions: Movimiento Nacional de Reivindication Callejista (Monarca), Rafael Leonardo CALLEJAS, and Oswaldista, Oswaldo RAMOS Soto, presidential candidate; National Innovation and Unity Party (PINU), Olban VALLADARES, president; Christian Democratic Party (PDCH), Efrain DIAZ Arrivillaga, president

Other political or pressure groups: National Association of Honduran Campesinos (ANACH); Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP); Confederation of Honduran Workers (CTH); National Union of Campesinos (UNC); General Workers Confederation (CGT); United Federation of Honduran Workers (FUTH); Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH); Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations (CCOP)


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission Ambassador Rene Arturo BENDANA
chancery 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone (202) 966-7702, 2604, 5008, 4596
FAX (202) 966-9751
consulate(s) general Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s) Boston, Detroit, and Jacksonville

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission Ambassador William PRYCE
embassy Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa
mailing address American Embassy, APO AA 34022, Tegucigalpa
telephone [504] 32-3120
FAX [504] 32-0027

Flag: 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


Overview: Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Agriculture, the most important sector of the economy, accounts for more than 25% of GDP, employs 62% of the labor force, and produces two-thirds of exports. Productivity remains low. Industry, still in its early stages, employs nearly 9% of the labor force, accounts for 15% of GDP, and generates 20% of exports. The service sectors, including public administration, account for 50% of GDP and employ 20% of the labor force. Basic problems facing the economy include rapid population growth, high unemployment, a lack of basic services, a large and inefficient public sector, and the dependence of the export sector mostly on coffee and bananas, which are subject to sharp price fluctuations. A far-reaching reform program initiated by former President CALLEJAS in 1990 is beginning to take hold. In 1993 the large fiscal deficit emerged as a key economic problem, the result of improvident state spending.

National product: GDP - purchasing power equivalent - $10 billion (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: 3.7% (1993 est.)

National product per capita: $1,950 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 13% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: 10%; underemployed 30%-40% (1992)

revenues $1.4 billion
expenditures $1.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $511 million (1990 est.)

Exports: $850 million (f.o.b., 1993 est)
commodities bananas, coffee, shrimp, lobster, minerals, meat, lumber
partners US 53%, Germany 11%, Belgium 8%, UK 5%

Imports: $1.1 billion (c.i.f. 1993 est)
commodities machinery and transport equipment, chemical products, manufactured goods, fuel and oil, foodstuffs
partners US 50%, Mexico 8%, Guatemala 6%

External debt: $2.8 billion (1990)

Industrial production: growth rate 0.8% (1990 est.); accounts for 15% of GDP

capacity 575,000 kW
production 2 billion kWh
consumption per capita 390 kWh (1992)

Industries: agricultural processing (sugar and coffee), textiles, clothing, wood products

Agriculture: most important sector, accounting for more than 25% of GDP, more than 60% of the labor force, and two-thirds of exports; principal products include bananas, coffee, timber, beef, citrus fruit, shrimp; importer of wheat

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine; illicit producer of cannabis, cultivated on small plots and used principally for local consumption

Economic aid:
recipient US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $1.4 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $1.1 billion

Currency: 1 lempira (L) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: lempiras (L) per US$1 - 7.2600 (December 1993), 7.2600 (1993), 5.8300 (1992), 5.4000 (1991); 2.0000 (fixed rate until 1991) 5.70 parallel black-market rate (November 1990); the lempira was allowed to float in 1992

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 785 km total; 508 km 1.067-meter gauge, 277 km 0.914-meter gauge

total 8,950 km
paved 1,700 km
unpaved otherwise improved 5,000 km; unimproved earth 2,250 km

Inland waterways: 465 km navigable by small craft

Ports: Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo

Merchant marine: 270 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 831,856 GRT/1,248,186 DWT, bulk 25, cargo 177, chemical tanker 2, combination bulk 1, container 7, liquified gas 1, oil tanker 22, passenger 2, passenger-cargo 2, refrigerated cargo 20, roll-on/roll-off cargo 6, short-sea passenger 2, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 1
note a flag of convenience registry; Russia owns 14 ships under the Honduran flag

total 160
usable 133
with permanent-surface runways 11
with runways over 3,659 m 0
with runways 2,440-3,659 m 4
with runways 1,220-2,439 m 14

Telecommunications: inadequate system with only 7 telephones per 1,000 persons; international services provided by 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations and the Central American microwave radio relay system; broadcast stations - 176 AM, no FM, 7 SW, 28 TV

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy (including Marines), Air Force, Public Security Forces (FUSEP)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 1,229,777; fit for military service 732,866; reach military age (18) annually 60,445 (1994 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $42.8 million, about 1.3% of GDP (1993 est.)

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