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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 77/03 - Geography of Honduras
Fecha:Miercoles, 21 de Mayo, 2003  15:57:45 (-0300)
Autor:Humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 77/03



Location: 15 00 N, 86 30 W -- Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Nicaragua


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


Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 86 30 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
total area: 112,090 sq km
land area: 111,890 sq km
comparative area: 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:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 nm
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; with respect to the maritime boundary in the Golfo de Fonseca, ICJ referred to an earlier agreement in this century and advised that some tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua likely would be required; maritime boundary dispute with Nicaragua
Climate: subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains
Terrain: mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
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
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: frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; damaging hurricanes and floods along Caribbean coast
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Tropical Timber 94


Population: 5,605,193 (July 1996 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 1,220,188; female 1,177,725)
15-64 years: 54% (male 1,496,625; female 1,520,918)
65 years and over: 3% (male 91,126; female 98,611) (July 1996 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.6% (1996 est.)
Birth rate: 33.38 births/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Death rate: 5.83 deaths/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1996 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: 0.92 male(s)/female
all ages: 1 male(s)/female (1996 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 41.8 deaths/1,000 live births (1996 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.42 years
male: 66.01 years
female: 70.96 years (1996 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.41 children born/woman (1996 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 (1995 est.)
total population: 72.7%
male: 72.6%
female: 72.7%


Name of country:
conventional long form: Republic of Honduras
conventional short form: Honduras
local long form: Republica de Honduras
local short form: Honduras
Data code: HO
Type of government: 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
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justica), judges are elected for four-year terms by the National Assembly
Political parties: Liberal Party (PLH), National Party of Honduras (PNH), National Innovation and Unity Party (PINU), Christian Democratic Party (PDCH)
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)
International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIH, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roberto FLORES Bermudez
chancery: 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-7702, 2604, 5008, 4596
FAX: [1] (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 T. PRYCE
embassy: Avenida La Paz, Apartado Postal No 3453, Tegucigalpa
mailing address: American Embassy, APO AA 34022, Tegucigalpa
telephone: [504] 36-9320, 38-5114
FAX: [504] 36-9037




President …….. Maduro Joest, Ricardo
First Vice-President …….. Díaz Lobo, José Alberto
Second Vice-President ........ Williams Hagase, Vicente
Third Vice President …….. Villela Meza, Armida Maria
Private Secretary to the President …….. Alvarez, Ricardo
Min. of Agriculture & Livestock …….. Gimenez, Mariano
Min. of Culture, Arts, & Sports ........ Batres, Mireya
Min. of Defense ........ Breve Travieso, Federico
Min. of Education ........ Ávila Molina, Carlos
Min. of Finance ........ Alvarado, José Arturo
Min. of Foreign Relations ........ Pérez Arias, Guillermo
Min. of Government ........ González Alcántara, Cesar
Min. of Government & Justice ........ Hernández Alcerro, Ramón
Min. of Industry & Commerce ........ Handal de Castillo, Juliette
Min. of Labor …….. Leitzelar, German
Min. of Natural Resources & Environment …….. Panting Galo, Patricia
Min. of the Presidency …….. Cosenza, Luis
Min. of Public Health ........ Lizardo, Elías
Min. of Public Works, Transportation & Housing ........ Carranza, Jorge
Min. of Security ........ Arias, Juan Ángel
Vice Min. of Security …….. Escobar Escalante, Ángel Antonio
Min. of Tourism ........ De Pierrefeu, Thierri
Min. of Transpor ........ Pavón Cambar, Eduardo
Min. Without Portfolio ........ Kafatti, Johnny
Min. Without Portfolio ……. Atala, Camilo
Min. Without Portfolio …….. Kafatti, Eduardo
Director, National Agrarian Institute …….. Portillo Fernandez, Erasmo
Director, Social Investment Fund ........ Yu-Wai, Leoni
President, Central Bank …….. Mondragon, Maria Elena
Attorney General …….. Medina, Roy Edmundo
Assistant Attorney General ........ Hernandez, Juan Arnaldo
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York …….. Noe Pino, Hugo


Economic overview: Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Agriculture, the most important sector of the economy, employs nearly two-thirds of the labor force and produces two-thirds of exports. Productivity remains low. Manufacturing, still in its early stages, employs about 9% of the labor force, and generates 20% of exports. Many basic problems face the economy, including rapid population growth, high unemployment, inflation, 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 and scaled back by President REINA, is beginning to take hold.
Industries: sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products
Agriculture: bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp;
Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA
Currency: 1 lempira (L) = 100 centavos; the lempira was allowed to float in 1992
Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 595 km
narrow gauge: 190 km 1.067-m gauge; 128 km 1.057-m gauge; 277 km 0.914-m gauge
note: in 1993, there was a total of 988 km of track (1995)
total: 14,203 km
paved: 2,533 km
unpaved: 11,670 km (1993 est.)
Waterways: 465 km navigable by small craft
Ports: La Ceiba, Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela, Puerto Lempira
Merchant marine:
total: 257 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 769,518 GRT/1,148,423 DWT
ships by type: bulk 29, cargo 165, chemical tanker 2, combination bulk 1, container 7, liquefied gas tanker 1, livestock carrier 3, oil tanker 19, passenger 1, passenger-cargo 3, refrigerated cargo 16, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7, short-sea passenger 2, vehicle carrier 1
note: a flag of convenience registry; Russia owns 8 ships, Vietnam 4, North Korea 2, Greece 1, Japan 1, US 1, Iran 1 (1995 est.)
total: 111
with paved runways 2 438 to 3 047 m: 3
with paved runways 1 524 to 2 437 m: 2
with paved runways 914 to 1 523 m: 5
with paved runways under 914 m: 79
with unpaved runways 2 438 to 3 047 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1 523 m: 21 (1995 est.)


Telephones: 105,000 (1992 est.)
Telephone system: inadequate system
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
Radio broadcast stations: AM 176, FM 0, shortwave 7
Radios: 2.115 million (1992 est.)
Television broadcast stations: 28
Televisions: 400,000 (1992 est.)


Branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, Public Security Forces (FUSEP)
Manpower availability:
males age 15-49: 1,322,525
males fit for military service: 787,889
males reach military age (18) annually: 64,378 (1996 est.)

Brief Current History - WWII TO 1993

In 1963 a military revolt led by Col. Oswaldo Lopez Arellano overthrew the government and a new constitution provided for Lopez to become President. In 1969 a Honduran land reform law forced many families from El Salvador living in Honduras to give up their land. Also in the same year, a war broke out with El Salvador after mounting economic tensions, although the war only lasted 2 weeks.

In 1970, the Organization of American States (OAS) helped the two nations set up a neutral zone along their common border. In 1971 voters elected Cruz to the presidency, however, in 1972 the armed forces overthrew the Cruz government and Lopez again became President. In 1975, the military, led by Col. Juan Alberto Melgar Castro ousted Lopez and took over the government. In 1978 Policarpo Paz Garcia led a military coup which removed Melgar from office. In 1980 Honduras and El Salvador signed an agreement to end their border dispute.

In 1981 under U.S. pressure, Pres. Garcia prepared elections for the return of a civilian government, and in Jan. 1982 Roberto Suazo Cordova was inaugurated as President (although the army commander-in-chief still retained considerable power). In Jan. 1986, another civilian government succeeded the other peacefully for the first time since 1929. In 1988 the Honduran-based Contras (Nicaraguan rebels) and the Sandinista government of Nicaragua signed a ceasefire agreement. In Nov. 1989 Rafael Leonardo Cellejas won the presidential election and was inaugurated in Jan. 1990.

During 1991 there were repeated attempts to reduce the army's autonomy while from May to August there were several murders including that of landless peasant farmers occupying uncultivated land, the assassination of an International Committee Against Torture member, as well as the torture, rape and murder of an 18-year old civilian, all allegedly by military officers. In Sept. 1991, and in response to the allegations, three high ranking military and police officers were demoted.

In Mar. 1992, the Congress passed the Agriculture Modernization Law in an attempt to attract further foreign investment and improve crop development. On Mar. 30, 1992 the Nicaraguan Assembly dropped its International Court of Justice law suit against Honduras for supporting and training the Contras throughout the Nicaraguan civil war. In May 1992 military officials and officials from the National Agrarian Institute (INA) forcibly removed campesino groups that had occupied some 61,750 acres (25,000 hectares) of uncultivated land. In July 1992, there was a series of political assassinations as a result of trade union splits with the labor movement. In 1993 the military was implicated in murders, corruption and drug trafficking that resulted the military in Mar. 1993 agreeing to place the National Department of Investigations (DNI) under civilian control by Jan. 1994.

Also during the first quarter of 1993 some 90 children disappeared in the capital, allegedly for organ trafficking. In April 1993 two bodies were found with obvious signs of organ removal that led to Pres. Leonardo appointing a commission to investigate the claims. On Nov. 28, 1993 general elections resulted in Carlos Roberto Reina of the Liberal Party (PL) defeating Oswaldo Ramos Soto of the ruling National Party (PN) through campaigning to attack government corruption and curb the military's influence in the government.