Honduras Background Note, Honduras Official Info - RealAdventures

Honduras Background Note

Honduras Official Info

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Details of Honduras Background Note, Honduras Official Info
Details for Honduras Background Note

Contributed By RealAdventures Support

U.S. Department of State, January 2002

Background Note: Honduras

PROFILE
OFFICIAL NAME:
Republic of Honduras
Geography
Area: 112,100 sq. km. (43,270 sq. mi.); about the size of Louisiana.
Cities: Capital--Tegucigalpa (850,000); San Pedro Sula (500,000);
metropolitan area of each city over 1 million.
Terrain: Mountainous.
Climate: Tropical to subtropical, depending on elevation.
People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Honduran(s).
Population (2001 est.): 6.4 million.
Growth rate (2001 est.): 2.4%.
Ethnic groups: 90% mestizo (mixed Indian and European); others of European,
Arab, African, or Asian ancestry; and indigenous Indians.
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant minority.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--70% overall, but less than 16%
at junior high level. Literacy--78.5%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--42/1,000. Life expectancy--68 yrs.
Work force: Services--45.7%; natural resources/agriculture--33.8%;
manufacturing--15.3%;construction/housing--5.2%.
Government
Type: Democratic constitutional republic.
Independence: September 15, 1821.
Constitution: 1982.
Branches: Executive--president, directly elected to 4-year term.
Legislative--unicameral National Congress, elected for 4-year term.
Judicial--Supreme Court of Justice (appointed by Congress and confirmed by
the president); several lower courts.
Political parties: National Party, Liberal Party, Innovation and National
Unity Party, Christian Democratic Party, and the Democratic Unification
Party.
Suffrage: Universal adult.
Administrative subdivisions: 18 departments.
Economy (2000 data)
GDP ($17 billion PPP): $5.9 billion.
Growth rate: 7%.
Per capita GDP: $920698.
Natural resources: Arable land, forests, minerals, fisheries.
Agriculture (15% of GDP): Products--coffee, bananas, shrimp and lobster,
sugar, fruits, basic grains, livestock.
Manufacturing (20% of GDP): Types--textiles and apparel, cement, wood
products, cigars, foodstuffs.
Trade: Exports--$1.3 billion: coffee, shrimp, bananas, zinc/lead
concentrates, soap/detergents, melons, lobster, pineapple, lumber, tobacco.
Major market--U.S. (40%). Imports--$2.9 billion: machinery, chemicals,
petroleum, vehicles, processed foods, metals, agricultural products, plastic
articles, paper articles. Major source--U.S. (46%).
Exchange rate (December 2001): 15.8 lempiras=U.S.$1.
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
About 90% of the population is mestizo. There also are small minorities of
European, African, Asian, Arab, and indigenous Indian descent. Most
Hondurans are Roman Catholic, but Protestant churches are growing in number.
Spanish is the predominant language, although some English is spoken along
the northern coast and is prevalent on the Caribbean Bay Islands. Several
indigenous Indian languages and Garifuna (a black Caribe/African language)
also are spoken. The restored Mayan ruins near the Guatemalan border in
Copan reflect the great Mayan culture that flourished there for hundreds of
years until the early 9th century. Columbus landed at mainland Honduras
(Trujillo) in 1502. He named the area "Honduras" (meaning "depths") for the
deep water off the coast. Spaniard Hernan Cortes arrived in 1524. The
Spanish founded several settlements along the coast, and Honduras formed
part of the Colonial era Captaincy General of Guatemala. The cities of
Comayagua and Tegucigalpa developed as early mining centers.
Independence
Honduras, along with the other Central American provinces, gained
independence from Spain in 1821; the country then briefly was annexed to the
Mexican Empire. In 1823, Honduras joined the newly formed United Provinces
of Central America. Social and economic differences between Honduras and its
regional neighbors exacerbated harsh partisan strife among Central American
leaders and brought on the federation's collapse in 1838. Gen. Francisco
Morazan--a Honduran national hero--led unsuccessful efforts to maintain the
federation, and restoring Central American unity remained the chief aim of
Honduran foreign policy until after World War I.
Since independence, Honduras has been plagued with nearly 300 internal
rebellions, civil wars, and changes of government--more than half occuring
during the 20th century. The country traditionally lacked both an economic
infrastructure and social and political integration. Its agriculturally
based economy came to be dominated in the 1900s by U.S. companies that
established vast banana plantations along the north coast. Foreign capital,
plantation life, and conservative politics held sway in Honduras from the
late 19th until the mid-20th century. During the relatively stable years of
the Great Depression, authoritarian Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino controlled
Honduras. His ties to dictators in neighboring countries and to U.S. banana
companies helped him maintain power until 1948. By then, provincial military
leaders had begun to gain control of the two major parties, the Nationalists
and the Liberals.
>From Military to Civilian Rule
In October 1955--after two authoritarian administrations and a general
strike by banana workers on the north coast in 1954--young military
reformists staged a palace coup that installed a provisional junta and paved
the way for constituent assembly elections in 1957. This assembly appointed
Dr. Ramon Villeda Morales as president and transformed itself into a
national legislature with a 6-year term. The Liberal Party ruled during
1957-63. At the same time, the military took its first steps to become a
professional institution independent of leadership from any one political
party, and the newly created military academy graduated its first class in
1960. In October 1963, conservative military officers preempted
constitutional elections and deposed Villeda in a bloody coup. These
officers exiled Liberal Party members and took control of the national
police. The armed forces, led by Gen. Lopez Arellano, governed until 1970.
Popular discontent continued to rise after a 1969 border war with El
Salvador. A civilian president--Ramon Cruz of the National Party--took power
briefly in 1970 but proved unable to manage the government. In December
1972, Gen. Lopez staged another coup. Lopez adopted more progressive
policies, including land reform, but his regime was brought down in the
mid-1970s by corruption scandals.
Gen. Lopez' successors continued armed forces modernization programs,
building army and security forces, and concentrating on Honduran air force
superiority over its neighbors. The regimes of Gen. Melgar Castro (1975-78)
and Gen. Paz Garcia (1978-83) largely built the current physical
infrastructure and telecommunications system of Honduras. The country also
enjoyed its most rapid economic growth during this period, due to greater
international demand for its products and the availability of foreign
commercial lending.
Following the overthrow of Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua in 1979 and general
instability in El Salvador at the time, the Honduran military accelerated
plans to return the country to civilian rule. A constituent assembly was
popularly elected in April 1980 and general elections were held in November
1981. A new constitution was approved in 1982, and the Liberal Party
government of President Roberto Suazo Cordoba took office following free and
fair elections power.
Suazo relied on U.S. support to help with a severe economic recession and
with the threat posed by the revolutionary Sandinista government in
Nicaragua amid a brutal civil war in El Salvador. Close cooperation on
political and military issues with the United States was complemented by
ambitious social and economic development projects sponsored by the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID). Honduras became host to the
largest Peace Corps mission in the world, and nongovernmental and
international voluntary agencies proliferated.
As the November 1985 election approached, the Liberal Party had difficulty
settling on a candidate, and interpreted election law as permitting multiple
presidential candidates from one party. The Liberal Party claimed victory
when its presidential candidates, who received 42% of the vote, collectively
outpolled the National Party candidate, Rafael Leonardo Callejas. Jose
Azcona Hoyo, the candidate receiving the most votes among the Liberals,
assumed the presidency in January 1986. With the endorsement of the Honduran
military, the Azcona administration ushered in the first peaceful transfer
of power between civilian presidents in more than 30 years. Four years
later, Rafael Callejas won the presidential election, taking office in
January 1990. Callejas concentrated on economic reform, reducing the
deficit, and taking steps to deal with an overvalued exchange rate and major
structural barriers to investment. He began the movement to place the
military under civilian control and laid the groundwork for the creation of
the public ministry (Attorney General's office).
Despite his administration's economic reforms, the nation's fiscal deficit
ballooned during Callejas' last year in office. Growing public
dissatisfaction with the rising cost of living and with widespread
government corruption led voters in 1993 to elect Liberal Party candidate
Carlos Roberto Reina over National Party contender Oswaldo Ramos Soto, with
Reina winning 56% of the vote.
President Reina, elected on a platform calling for a "moral revolution,"
actively prosecuted corruption and pursued those responsible for human
rights abuses in the 1980s. He created a modern attorney general's office
and an investigative police force and was successful in increasing civilian
control over the armed forces and transferring the police from military to
civilian authority.
Reina also restored national fiscal health by substantially increasing
Central Bank net international reserves, reducing inflation, restoring
economic growth, and, perhaps most importantly, holding down spending.
Carlos Roberto Flores Facusse took office on January 27, 1998, as Honduras'
fifth democratically elected president since democratic institutions were
restored in 1981. Like three of his four predecessors, Flores was a member
of the Liberal Party. He was elected by a 10% margin over his main opponent,
National Party nominee Nora de Melgar. Upon taking office on January 27,
1998, Flores inaugurated programs of reform and modernization of the
Honduran Government and economy, with emphasis on helping Honduras' poorest
citizens while maintaining the country's fiscal health and improving
international competitiveness.
In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras, leaving more than
5,000 people dead and 1.5 million displaced. Damages totaled nearly $3
billion. The Honduran Government agreed to a new transparent process to
manage relief funds, which included significant donor oversight. This open
process greatly facilitated the relief and reconstruction effort. President
Flores and his administration have successfully managed more than $600
million in international assistance. Civil society's role in the
government-coordinated reconstruction process has been lauded
internationally. President Flores also forwarded judicial and penal reforms.
He established an anticorruption commission, supported passage of a new
penal code based on the oral accusatorial system, and saw passage of a law
that creates an independent Supreme Court. Flores cemented the transition
from military to civilian rule by eliminating the commander in chief
position, and by signing a law that establishes civilian control formally
over the military.
Ricardo Maduro Joest of the National Party was elected to the Honduran
presidency on November 25, 2001, outpolling the Liberal candidate, Rafael
Pineda Ponce, by 8%. He will be inaugurated on January 27, 2002. The
elections, characterized by international observer teams as free, fair, and
peaceful, reflected the maturing of Honduras' democratic institutions.
During his campaign, President-elect Maduro promised to reduce crime,
reinvigorate the economy, and fight corruption.
GOVERNMENT
The 1982 constitution provides for a strong executive, a unicameral National
Congress, and a judiciary appointed by the National Congress. The president
is directly elected to a 4-year term by popular vote. The congress also
serves a 4-year term; congressional seats are assigned the parties'
candidates in proportion to the number of votes each party receives in the
various departments. The judiciary includes a Supreme Court of Justice,
courts of appeal, and several courts of original jurisdiction--such as
labor, tax, and criminal courts. For administrative purposes, Honduras is
divided into 18 departments, with municipal officials selected for 4-year
terms.
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Reinforced by the media and several political watchdog organizations, human
rights and civil liberties are reasonably well protected. There are no known
political prisoners in Honduras, and the privately owned media frequently
exercises its right to criticize without fear of reprisals. Organized labor
now represents less than 15% of the work force and its economic and
political influence has declined. Honduras held its sixth consecutive
democratic elections in November 2001, to elect a new president, unicameral
Congress, and mayors. For only the second time, voters were able to cast
separate ballots for each office, and for the first time, denied the
president-elect party's absolute majority in the Congress. The incidence of
cross-voting between presidential and congressional candidates was marked.
Political Parties
The two major parties--the Liberal Party and the National Party--run active
campaigns throughout the country. Their ideologies are mostly centrist, with
diverse factions in each centered on personalities. The three smaller
registered parties--the Christian Democratic Party, the Innovation and
National Unity Party, and the Democratic Unification Party-- have increased
their political muscle in the National Congress by doubling their
representation. Despite significant progress in training and installing more
skillful advisers at the top of each party ladder, electoral politics in
Honduras remain traditionalist and paternalistic.
Principal Government Officials
President--Carlos Roberto FLORES Facusse
Minister of Foreign Relations--Roberto FLORES Bermudez
Ambassador to the U.S.--Hugo NOE Pino
Ambassador to the UN--Edmundo ORELLANA
Ambassador to the OAS--Dr. Laura NUNEZ Flores de Ponce
Honduras maintains an embassy in the United States at 3007 Tilden Street NW,
Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-966-7702).
NATIONAL SECURITY
Events during the 1980s in El Salvador and Nicaragua led Honduras--with U.S.
assistance--to expand its armed forces, laying particular emphasis on its
air force, which came to include a squadron of U.S.-provided F-5s. The
resolution of the civil wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua and
across-the-board budget cuts made in all ministries greatly reduced funding
for the Honduran armed forces. The abolition of the draft created staffing
gaps in the now all-volunteer armed forces. The military now is far below
its authorized strength. In January 1999, the constitution was amended to
abolish the position of military commander in chief of the armed forces,
thus codifying civilian authority over the military. President Flores also
named the first civilian minister of defense in the country's history.
ECONOMY
Honduras is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin
America. The economy is based mostly on agriculture, which accounted for 15%
of GDP in 1999. Coffee accounted for 26% ($340 million) of total Honduran
export revenues in 2000. However, plummeting world coffee prices in 2001
caused coffee export revenues to fall by 50% during the year. Bananas,
formerly the country's second-largest export until being virtually wiped out
by 1998's Hurricane Mitch, recovered in 2000 to 57% of pre-Mitch levels. The
banana sector continued to recover in 2001 and is estimated to generate some
$210 million in export revenues, equal to pre-Mitch levels. Cultivated
shrimp are another important export generating $125 million in 2001.
Honduras has extensive forest, marine, and mineral resources, although
widespread slash-and-burn agricultural methods continue to destroy Honduran
forests. Unemployment is estimated at around 4.0%, though underemployment is
much higher. The Honduran economy grew 4.7% in 2000, recovering from the
Mitch-induced recession (-1.9%) of 1999. The economy is expected to grow 3%
in 2001, led by continuation of foreign-funded reconstruction projects. The
Honduran maquiladora sector, the second-largest in the world, continued its
strong performance in 2000, providing employment to more than 125,000
workers and generating over $528 million in foreign exchange for the
country. The economic slowdown in the U.S. caused Honduras' maquila sector
growth to stagnate in 2001 and employment in the sector to drop to about
115,000. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, was 10.1% in
2000, down slightly from the 10.9% recorded in 1999. The country's
international reserve position continued to be strong in 2000, at slightly
over $1 billion. Remittances from Hondurans living abroad (mostly in the
U.S.) rose 28% to $410 million in 2000 and were expected to rise in 2001 to
$450-$500 million. The currency (lempira) has only moderately devalued in
nominal terms over the past year.
The country signed an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF)--later
converted to a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) in March 1999. While Honduras continues to
maintain stable macroeconomic policies, it has lagged in implementing
structural reforms, such as privatization of the publicly owned telephone
and energy distribution companies. Honduras received significant debt relief
in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, including the suspension of bilateral
debt-service payments and bilateral debt reduction by the Paris
Club--including the U.S.--worth more than $400 million. In July 2000,
Honduras reached its decision point under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries
Initiative (HIPC), qualifying the country for interim multilateral debt
relief. In 2001, the IMF approved Honduras' third year PRGF, and together
with the World Bank, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which makes
Honduras eligible for interim debt relief and qualify for $556 million in
debt relief in present value terms at its completion point in December 2002.
FOREIGN RELATIONS
Honduras is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization
(WTO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Central American
Parliament (PARLACEN), the Central American Integration System (SICA), and
the Central American Security Commission (CASC). During 1995-96, Honduras, a
founding member of the United Nations, for the first time served as a
nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council.
Honduras is a strong proponent of Central American cooperation and
integration, and has joined in an agreement easing border controls and
tariffs among Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Honduras held
the 6-month SICA presidency during the second half of 2001, and worked hard
to advance regional cooperation with the U.S. on issues related to
sustainable development. President Flores also was instrumental in
galvanizing regional support for counterterrorism measures following the
September 11 attacks.
In 1969, El Salvador and Honduras fought the brief "Soccer War" over
disputed border areas and the emigration of some 300,000 Salvadorans to
Honduras in search of land and employment. The catalyst was nationalistic
feelings aroused by a series of soccer matches between the two countries,
but the roots of the conflict lay in local disputes over land ownership and
usage. The two countries formally signed a peace treaty on October 30, 1980,
which put the border dispute before the International Court of Justice
(ICJ). In September 1992, the Court awarded most of the disputed territory
to Honduras. In January 1998, Honduras and El Salvador signed a border
demarcation treaty to implement the terms of the ICJ decree. The treaty
awaits legal ratification in both countries. Honduras and El Salvador
maintain normal diplomatic and trade relations, however, they continue to
have strained relations over the status of their maritime borders in the
Gulf of Fonseca.
Honduras and Nicaragua had tense relations throughout 2000 and early 2001
due to a maritime boundary dispute off the Atlantic coast. Nicaragua imposed
a 35% tariff against Honduras due to the dispute, and the Central American
Court of Justice ruled the tariff illegal in 2001.
U.S.-HONDURAN RELATIONS

Overview
The United States and Honduras have close and friendly relations. Honduras
is supportive of U.S. policy in the UN and other fora. As a nonpermanent
member of the UN Security Council, Honduras played a very helpful role in
1996, most notably in advancing the process of selecting a new UN Secretary
General during its October presidency of the Council. The U.S. also
continued to be able to count on Honduras' strong support in the war on
terrorism.
The U.S. favors stable, peaceful relations between Honduras and its Central
American neighbors. During the 1980s, Honduras supported U.S. policy in
Central America opposing a revolutionary Marxist government in Nicaragua and
an active leftist insurgency in El Salvador. The Honduran Government also
played a key role in negotiations that culminated in the 1990 Nicaraguan
elections. Honduras contributed troops for the UN peacekeeping mission in
Haiti and continues to participate in the UN observer mission in the Western
Sahara.
The United States is Honduras' chief trading partner, supplying 46% of its
imports and purchasing 40% of its exports. Leading Honduran exports to the
United States include coffee, bananas, seafood (particularly shrimp),
minerals (including zinc, lead, gold, and silver), and other fruits and
vegetables. The United States encourages U.S. investment that contributes to
Honduran development and bilateral trade. The United States' direct
investment in Honduras is an estimated $840 million, about two-thirds of the
total foreign direct investment in the country. The largest U.S. investments
in Honduras are in the maquila (garment assembly) sector, fruit
production--particularly bananas, melons, and pineapple--tourism, energy
generation, shrimp culture, animal feed production, telecommunications, fuel
distribution, cigar manufacturing, insurance, brewing, leasing, food
processing, and furniture manufacturing. U.S. maquilas are responsible for
the majority of the approximately 115,000 jobs in that sector. Many U.S.
franchises, particularly in the restaurant sector, operate in Honduras. The
Honduran Government supports the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement of
the Americas by 2005.
The U.S. maintains a small presence at a Honduran military base; the two
countries conduct joint counternarcotics, humanitarian, and civic action
exercises. U.S. troops conduct and provide logistics support for a variety
of exercises--medical, engineering, peacekeeping, counternarcotics, and
disaster relief--for the benefit of the Honduran people and their Central
American neighbors. U.S. forces--regular, reserve, and National
Guard--benefit greatly from the training and exercises.
U.S. troops, in collaboration with counterparts from Brazil and Colombia,
since 1994 have assisted Honduran soldiers in clearing land mines from the
country's border with Nicaragua. As of early 2001, the U.S.-trained Honduran
demining unit had cleared nine major minefields measuring about 333,000
square meters, and more than 2,200 mines had been destroyed.
U.S. Policy Toward Honduras
U.S. policy toward Honduras is aimed at consolidating stable democracy with
a justice system that protects human rights and promotes the rule of law.
U.S. Government programs are aimed at promoting a healthy and more open
economy capable of sustainable growth, improving the climate for business
and investment while protecting U.S. citizen and corporate rights, and
promoting the well-being of the Honduran people. The U.S. also works with
Honduras to meet transnational challenges, including the fight against
terrorism, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, illegal migration, and
encourages and supports Honduran efforts to protect the environment. The
goals of strengthening democracy and promoting viable economic growth are
especially important given the geographical proximity of Honduras to the
United States. Some 400,000 Hondurans reside in the United States;
consequently, immigration issues are an important item on our bilateral
agenda.

U.S.-Honduran ties are further strengthened by numerous private sector
contacts, with an average of 110,000 U.S. citizens visiting Honduras
annually and about 10,500 Americans residing there. More than 150 American
companies operate in Honduras.

Economic and Development Assistance
In order to help strengthen Honduras' democratic institutions and improve
living conditions, the U.S. has provided substantial economic assistance.
The U.S. has historically been the largest bilateral donor to Honduras.
USAID obligations to Honduras totaled $19.6 million for development
assistance and $12.7 million for foodstuffs in 2000. Over the years, U.S.
foreign assistance has helped advance such objectives as fostering
democratic institutions, increasing private sector employment and income,
helping Honduras fund its arrears with international financial institutions,
providing humanitarian aid, increasing agricultural production, and
providing loans to micro-businesses.

October 1998's Hurricane Mitch--the worst natural disaster ever to strike
the Western Hemisphere--left hundreds of thousands homeless, devastated the
road network and other public infrastructure, and crippled certain key
sectors of the economy. Estimates are that Hurricane Mitch caused $8.5
billion in damages to homes, hospitals, schools, roads, farms, and
businesses throughout Central America, including more than $3 billion in
Honduras alone.

In response, the U.S. provided more than $550 million in immediate disaster
relief and humanitarian aid spread over the years 1998-2001. This
supplemental assistance was designed to help repair water and sanitation
systems; replace housing, schools, and roads; provide agricultural inputs;
provide local government crisis management training; grant debt relief; and
encourage environmental management expertise. Additional resources were
utilized to maintain anti-crime and drug assistance programs. The vast
majority of the U.S. reconstruction projects are scheduled to finish by
December 31, 2001, with the exception of some water and sanitation and
transparency projects that have been extended for another 14 months. In
2001, the U.S. also provided food aid in response to a short drought and the
depressed state of the agriculture sector. Subsequently, the U.S. provided
$265,000 in disaster assistance after Tropical Storm Michelle inundated the
North Coast with floods.

New and existing U.S. economic programs--some with proposed enhancements
that have taken on even greater importance since the hurricane--include the
Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, Overseas Private Investment
Corporation financing for private investment and insurance against risks of
war and expropriation, U.S. Trade Development Agency grant loans for
prefeasibility studies of projects with U.S. product and services export
potential, and U.S. Export-Import Bank short- and medium-term financing for
U.S. exports to Honduran importers. All of these provide greater economic
opportunity for U.S. and Honduran businessmen and women.

The Peace Corps has been active in Honduras since 1962, and, currently, the
program is one of there was the largest in the world. In 2001, there were
200 Peace Corps Volunteers working in the poorest parts of Honduras.

The U.S. Government strongly supports the professionalization of the
civilian police force as an important element in strengthening the rule of
law in Honduras. The American embassy in Tegucigalpa provides specialized
training to police officers through the International Criminal Training
Assistance Program.

Security Assistance
The role of the Honduran armed forces has changed significantly in recent
years as many institutions formerly controlled by the military are now under
civilian authority. The defense and police budgets have hovered at around
$35 million during the past few years. Formal U.S. security assistance has
declined from over $500 million provided between 1982 and 1993 to $500,000
annually in International Military Education and Training (IMET) courses.
Some residual credits are still available from previous military aid, but
will be exhausted within the next few years.

In the absence of a large security assistance program, defense cooperation
has taken the form of increased participation by the Honduran armed forces
in military-to-military contact programs and bilateral and multilateral
combined exercises oriented toward peacekeeping, disaster relief,
humanitarian/civic assistance, and counternarcotics. The U.S. Joint Task
Force (JTF) stationed at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base plays a vital role
in supporting combined exercises in Honduras and in neighboring Central
American countries. While JTF-Bravo has been involved in several
multilateral exercises and numerous smaller humanitarian deployments, it
played an absolutely critical role in helping the U.S. to respond to
Hurricanes Mitch and Keith, and the earthquakes in El Salvador by saving
lives, repairing roads and critical infrastructure, and meeting high
priority health and sanitation needs. U.S. forces also delivered millions of
dollars worth of privately donated goods to those in need.

U.S. Business Opportunities
U.S. Department of Commerce trade data show that bilateral trade between the
two nations reached $1.86 billion in 2000. American businesses exported $1.3
billion in goods and services to Honduras in 2000. U.S. investors account
for nearly two-thirds of the estimated $1.3 billion in foreign direct
investment in Honduras. More than 150 American companies operate there; U.S.
franchises are present in increasing numbers.

Opportunities for U.S. business sales include textile machinery,
construction equipment, automotive parts and accessories, telecommunications
equipment, pollution control/water resources equipment, agricultural
machinery, hotel and restaurant equipment, computers and software,
franchising, and household consumer goods. Best prospects for agricultural
products are corn, milled rice, wheat, soybean meal, and consumer-ready
products.

U.S. citizens contemplating investment in real estate in Honduras should
proceed with caution, especially in coastal areas or on the Bay Islands,
because of frequently conflicting legislation and problems with land titles.
Such investors, or their attorneys, should check property titles not only
with the property registry office having jurisdiction in the area in which
the property is located (being especially observant of marginal annotations
on the deed and that the property is located within the area covered by the
original title), but also with the National Agrarian Institute (INA) and the
National Forestry Administration (COHDEFOR).

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Frank Almaguer
Deputy Chief of Mission--Paul A. Trivelli
Political Counselor--Francisco Palmieri
Economic Counselor--Robin Matthewman
Consul General--John Jones
Administrative Counselor--Scott Heckman
USAID Director--Vacant
Public Affairs Officer (USIS)--Gregory Adams
Defense Attache--Col. David Kuhns
Military Group Commander--Col. Mario Garza, USA
Peace Corps Director--Stephen Miller

The U.S. embassy in Honduras is located on Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa
(tel.: 011-504-2369320; faxes: general--011-504-236-9037,
USAID-011-504-236-7776, USIS--0l1-504-236-9309, Military
Group--011-504-233-6171, Commercial Section--011-504-238-2888,
Consulate-011-504-237-1792). Internet: http://www.usmission.hn/

Contact Information
American Chamber of Commerce
Hotel Honduras Maya
Apartado Postal 1838
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Tel: (504) 232-7043/232-6035
Fax: (504) 232-9959
Branch office in San Pedro Sula
Tel: (504) 558-0164/66
Fax: (504) 552-2401

Caribbean/Latin American Action
1818 N Street, N.W.
Suite 310
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: 202-466-7464
Fax: 202-822-0075
Internet: http://www.claa.org

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Tel: 202-482-0057
800-USA-TRADE
Fax: 202-482-0464
Internet: http://www.ita.doc.gov

U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20523-0001
Tel: 202-712-4810
Fax: 202-216-3524
Hurricane Relief Website: http://hurricane.info.usaid.gov

[end of document]

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