Legend: Introduction



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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
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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

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:

territorial sea: 12 nm contiguous zone: 24 nm exclusive economic zone: 200 nm continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 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: 9.53% permanent crops: 3.21% other: 87.26% (2005)
Irrigated land:

800 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:

95.9 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.86 cu km/yr (8%/12%/80%)

per capita: 119 cu m/yr (2000)
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


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7,639,327 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 38.7% (male 1,508,835/female 1,446,530) 15-64 years: 57.8% (male 2,210,187/female 2,203,620) 65 years and over: 3.5% (male 121,839/female 148,316) (2008 est.)
Median age:

total: 20 years male: 19.7 years

female: 20.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.024% (2008 est.) Birth rate:

26.93 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:

5.36 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:

-1.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 24.61 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 27.63 deaths/1,000 live births female: 21.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 69.37 years male: 67.81 years female: 71.01 years (2008 est.) 3.38 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Total fertility rate: HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.8% (2003 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with 63,000 (2003 est.) HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS - deaths:

4,100 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)

noun: Honduran(s) adjective: Honduran
Ethnic groups:

mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%

Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%

Spanish, Amerindian dialects

definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 80% male: 79.8% female: 80.2% (2001 census) Government
Country name:

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

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Government type:

democratic constitutional republic

name: Tegucigalpa geographic coordinates: 14 06 N, 87 13 W time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
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)

Independence: National holiday:

Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended many times
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

18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Elvin Ernesto SANTOS Ordonez (since 27 January 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Manuel ZELAYA Rosales (since 27 January 2006); Vice President Elvin Ernesto SANTOS Ordonez (since 27 January 2006) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 27 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009) election results: Manuel ZELAYA Rosales elected president - 49.8%, Porfirio

"Pepe" LOBO Sosa 46.1%, other 4.1%
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 27 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009) election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 62, PN 55, PUD 5, PDC 4, PINU 2
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (15 judges are elected for seven-year terms by the National Congress)
Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Felicito AVILA]; Democratic Unification

Party or PUD [Cesar HAM]; Liberal Party or PL [Patricia RODAS]; National Innovation and Unity Party or PINU [Jorge AQUILAR Paredes]; National Party of Honduras or PN [Porfirio LOBO]
Political pressure groups and Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras or CODEH; leaders: 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 Confederation of Honduran Workers or CUTH
International organization BCIE, CACM, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, participation: IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber),

Diplomatic representation in chief of mission: Ambassador Roberto FLORES BERMUDEZ the US: 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 chief of mission: Ambassador Charles A. FORD from the US: embassy: Avenida La Paz, Apartado Postal No. 3453, Tegucigalpa

mailing address: American Embassy, APO AA 34022, Tegucigalpa telephone: [504] 236-9320, 238-5114 FAX: [504] 236-9037
Flag description:

three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with five blue, fivepointed 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
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Economy overview: Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America and 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 US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and on debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Despite improvements in tax collections, the government's fiscal deficit is growing due to increases in current expenditures and financial losses from the state energy and telephone companies. Honduras is the fastest growing remittance destination in the region with inflows representing over a quarter of GDP, equivalent to nearly three-quarters of exports. The economy relies heavily on a narrow range of exports, notably bananas and coffee, making it vulnerable to natural disasters and shifts in commodity prices, however, investments in the maquila and non-traditional export sectors are slowly diversifying the economy. Growth remains dependent on the economy of the US, its largest trading partner, and on reduction of the high crime rate, as a means of attracting and maintaining investment.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $30.65 billion (2007 est.) GDP (official exchange rate): $12.28 billion (2007 est.) GDP - real growth rate: 6.3% (2007 est.) GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,100 (2007 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 13.4%

industry: 28.1% services: 58.6% (2007 est.)
Labor force:

2.78 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 34%

industry: 23% services: 43% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate: 27.8% (2007 est.) Population below poverty line: 50.7% (2004) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 1.2% percentage share: highest 10%: 42.2% (2003) Distribution of family income - 53.8 (2003)

Gini index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.9% (2007 est.) Investment (gross fixed): 30.4% of GDP (2007 est.) Budget:

revenues: $2.344 billion expenditures: $2.631 billion; including capital expenditures of $106 million (2007 est.)
Public debt:

24.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture products: bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp, tilapia, lobster; corn, African


sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products
Industrial production growth 4.4% (2007 est.) rate: Electricity production: 5.339 billion kWh (2005) Electricity consumption: 4.036 billion kWh (2005) Electricity exports: 0 kWh (2005) Electricity imports: 57 million kWh (2005) Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:

43,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:

765.4 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:

42,620 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.) Natural gas production: 0 cu m (2005 est.) Natural gas consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.) Natural gas exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.) Natural gas imports: 0 cu m (2005) Natural gas proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.) Current account balance: -$1.225 billion (2007 est.)


$5.594 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports commodities: coffee, shrimp, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber Exports - partners:

US 68.8%, Guatemala 4%, El Salvador 3.9% (2006)

$8.556 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports commodities: machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical

products, fuels, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:

US 52.1%, Guatemala 7.1%, El Salvador 4.5%, Costa Rica 4.1%, Mexico 4.1% (2006)
Economic aid recipient: $680.8 million (2005) Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.545 billion (31 December 2007 est.) Debt - external:

$3.41 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded $NA shares: Currency (code):

lempira (HNL)
Exchange rates:

lempiras per US dollar - 18.9 (2007), 18.895 (2006), 18.92 (2005), 18.206 (2004), 17.345 (2003)
Fiscal year:

calendar year Communications Honduras
Telephones - main lines in use: 708,400 (2006) Telephones mobile cellular: 2.241 million (2006) Telephone system:
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general assessment: inadequate system domestic: beginning in 2003, private sub-operators allowed to provide fixedlines in order to expand telephone coverage; fixed-line teledensity has increased to about 10 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone service has been increasing rapidly and subscribership in 2006 exceeded 30 per 100 persons international: country code - 504; landing point for both the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the MAYA-1 fiber optic submarine cable system that together provide connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
Radio broadcast

stations: AM 241, FM 53, shortwave 12 (1998) Television broadcast stations: 11 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997) Internet country code: .hn Internet hosts:

4,672 (2007)
Internet users:

337,300 (2006) Transportation

Honduras 112 (2007)

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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: 4 under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 100

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 15 under 914 m: 83 (2007)

total: 699 km narrow gauge: 279 km 1.067-m gauge; 420 km 0.914-m gauge (2006)

total: 13,600 km paved: 2,775 km unpaved: 10,825 km (2000)

465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2007)
Merchant marine:

total: 126 ships (1000 GRT or over) 352,534 GRT/481,217 DWT by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 58, chemical tanker 5, container 1, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 1, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 27, refrigerated cargo 8, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1 foreign-owned: 40 (Bangladesh 1, Canada 1, China 3, Egypt 4, Greece 1, Hong Kong 1, Israel 1, Japan 4, South Korea 6, Lebanon 2, Mexico 1, Singapore 10, Taiwan 2, Tanzania 1, US 1, Vietnam 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals: La Ceiba, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela

Military branches:


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Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Honduran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Hondurena, FAH) (2008)
Military service age

and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary 2 to 3-year military service (2004) Manpower available for males age 16-49: 1,868,940 military service: females age 16-49: 1,825,770 (2008 est.) Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 1,359,406

females age 16-49: 1,371,418 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily males age 16-49: 90,876 significant age females age 16-49: 87,292 (2008 est.) annually: Military expenditures - 0.6% (2006 est.) percent of GDP:

Transnational Issues


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Disputes international: International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones"

(disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras border in 1992 with final settlement by the parties in 2006 after an Organization of American States (OAS) survey and a further ICJ ruling in 2003; 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 the Belizean-administered Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize in its constitution, but agreed to a joint ecological park around the cays should Guatemala consent to a maritime corridor in the Caribbean under the OAS-sponsored 2002 Belize-Guatemala Differendum; memorials and countermemorials were filed by the parties in Nicaragua's 1999 and 2001 proceedings against Honduras and Colombia at the ICJ over the maritime boundary and territorial claims in the western Caribbean Sea - final public hearings are scheduled for 2007
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 24 July 2008