Honduras

 

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:
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
People:
Population: 8,296,693 (July 2012 est.)

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

Age structure: 0-14 years: 36.7% (male 1,528,271/female 1,464,428)

15-64 years: 59.5% (male 2,431,607/female 2,412,951)

65 years and over: 3.8% (male 136,035/female 170,272) (2011 est.)

Government:
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: 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; note – these dates become effective in 2007

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 669,500 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 9.505 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 104 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 13

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 3 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Naval Infantry), Honduran Air Force (FuerzaAereaHondurena, FAH) (2012)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary 2 to 3-year military service (2004)

Economy:

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.

Transnational Issues:

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 counter memorials 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.