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Honduras Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Tegucigalpa (pop. 850 000); metropolitan area over 1 million Alcaldia de Tegucigalpa

Other Cities: San Pedro Sula the industrial capital of Honduras, (pop. 500 000); metropolitan area over 1 million.

Local Time: UTC -6h

Location:Central America/Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Area: 112,100 sq. km. (43,270 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Mountainous.
Border countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua

Climate: Tropical to subtropical, depending on elevation.

Type: Democratic constitutional republic.
Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Constitution: 1982.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Honduran(s)
Population (est.): 6 406 000
Ethnic groups: 90% mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European); others of European, Arab, African, or Asian ancestry; and indigenous Indians 7%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority.
Languages: Spanish, Amerindian dialects.
Literacy: 72%.


Currency: Lempira (HNL)

Natural resources: Timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower.

Bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp.

Exports partners:
USA 65.5%, El Salvador 3.5%, Guatemala 2.4% (2003)

Imports partners: USA 53.1%, El Salvador 4.5%, Mexico 3% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Honduras

Congreso Nacional de la República de Honduras

Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations

Embassy of Honduras in the U.S.

Map of Honduras

Map of Central America and the Caribbean



Background:  Part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras
became an independent nation in 1821. After two and one-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 against leftist guerrillas.

Geography Honduras

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

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:  contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 NM exclusive
economic zone: 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: 15% permanent crops: 3% other: 82% (1998 est.)

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, Nuclear
Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83,
Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Geography -
note:  has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline,
including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast

People Honduras

Population:  6,560,608 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 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 41.8% (male 1,400,778; female 1,340,834)
15-64 years: 54.6% (male 1,774,619; female 1,806,568) 65 years and over:
3.6% (male 112,100; female 125,709) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.34% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  31.21 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5.74 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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:
0.89 male(s)/female total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  30.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   70.51 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  4.03 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  1.92% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  63,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  4,200 (1999 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 minority

Languages:  Spanish, Amerindian dialects

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 74% male: 74% female: 74.1% (1999)

Government Honduras

Country name:   Republic of Honduras conventional short form: 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 NA 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 NA November 2005)
election results:  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
[Dr. Hernan CORRALES Padilla]; Democratic Unification Party or PUD
[leader NA]; 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 [Raphael CALLEJAS]

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:  BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO,
IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer),

Diplomatic representation in the US:   Ambassador Mario Miguel CANAHUATI
honorary consulate(s):  Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans,
New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Tampa FAX:
[1] (202) 966-9751 telephone: [1] (202) 966-7702 chancery: Suite 4-M,
3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Frank ALMAGUER embassy: Avenida La Paz, Apartado Postal No. 3453,
Tegucigalpa mailing address: American Embassy,
 [504] 238-5114, 236-9320 FAX:
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, is
banking on expanded trade privileges under the Enhanced Caribbean Basin
Initiative and on debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
(HIPC) initiative. While the country has met most of its macroeconomic
targets, it failed to meet the IMF's goals to liberalize its energy and
telecommunications sectors. Growth remains dependent on the status of the
US economy, its major trading partner, on commodity prices, particularly
coffee, and on containment of the recent rise in crime.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $17 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  2.1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $2,600 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 18% industry: 32% services:
50% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  53% (1993 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 0.4%
highest 10%: 44.3% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  59 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  9.7% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  2.3 million (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 34%, industry 21%, services 45%
(2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:  28% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $607 million expenditures: $411.9 million, including
capital expenditures of $106 million (1999 est.)

Industries:  sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products

Industrial production growth rate:  4% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production:  3.573 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 36.89% hydro: 63.11%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  3.593 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  5 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  275 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp

Exports:  $2 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  coffee, bananas, shrimp, lobster, meat; zinc,

Exports - partners:  US 39.9%, El Salvador 9.2%, Germany 7.9%, Belgium
5.8%, Guatemala 5.4% (2000)

Imports:  $2.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and transport equipment, industrial
raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:  US 46.1%, Guatemala 8.2%, El Salvador 6.6%, Mexico
4.7%, Japan 4.6% (2000)

Debt - external:  $5.6 billion (2001)

Economic aid - recipient:  $557.8 million (1999)

Currency:  lempira (HNL)

Currency code:  HNL

Exchange rates:  lempiras per US dollar - 16.0256 (January 2002), 15.9197
(2001), 15.1407 (2000), 14.5039 (1999), 13.8076 (1998), 13.0942 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Honduras

Telephones - main lines in use:  234,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  14,427 (1997)

Telephone system:   NA international:  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 Service Providers (ISPs):  8 (2000)

Internet users:  40,000 (2000)

Transportation Honduras

Railways:  total: 595 km narrow gauge: 318 km 1.067-m gauge; 277 km
0.914-m gauge (2000)

Highways:  total: 15,400 km paved: 3,126 km unpaved: 12,274 km (1999 est.)

Waterways:  465 km (navigable by small craft)

Ports and harbors:  La Ceiba, Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo,
Tela, Puerto Lempira

Merchant marine:  total: 284 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 749,243
GRT/846,942 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here
as a flag of convenience: Argentina 1, Bahrain 1, Belize 1, British
Virgin Islands 1, Bulgaria 1, China 8, Costa Rica 1, Cyprus 1, Egypt 6,
El Salvador 1, Germany 1, Greece 18, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 2, Italy 1,
Japan 7, Lebanon 4, Liberia 4, Maldives 2, Marshall Islands 1, Mexico
1, Nigeria 1, Norway 1, Panama 14, Philippines 1, Romania 2, Russia 1,
Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Singapore
24, South Korea 12, Spain 1, Syria 1, Taiwan 4, Tanzania 1, Trinidad and
Tobago 1, Turkey 2, Turks and Caicos Islands 1, United Arab Emirates 6,
United Kingdom 1, United States 5, Vanuatu 1, Vietnam 1, Virgin Islands
(UK) 1 (2002 est.)  ships by type: bulk 20, cargo 166, chemical tanker
5, container 6, livestock carrier 1, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 3,
petroleum tanker 54, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 8, short-sea
passenger 4, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1

Airports:  117 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:   2 914 to 1,523 m: Airports - with unpaved
runways:  total: 105 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 20 under 914 m:
83 (2001)

Military Honduras

Military branches:  Army, Navy (including marines), Air Force

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 1,563,174 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 930,718
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 72,335
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $35 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  0.6% (FY99)

Transnational Issues Honduras

Disputes - international:  Honduras claims Sapodilla Cays off the coast
of Belize; El Salvador disputes tiny Conejo Island off Honduras in the
Golfo de Fonseca; many of the "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El
Salvador-Honduras boundary remain undemarcated despite ICJ adjudication
in 1992; with respect to the maritime boundary in the Golfo de Fonseca,
the ICJ referred to the line determined by the 1900 Honduras-Nicaragua
Mixed Boundary Commission and advised a tripartite resolution among
El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua; Nicaragua filed a claim against
Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at the ICJ over disputed
maritime boundary involving 50,000 sq km in the Caribbean Sea, including
the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank

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; vulnerable to
money laundering

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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