|República de Honduras|
|Republic of Honduras|
Motto : "Libre, Soberana e Independiente"
(Spanish for "free, sovereign and independent" )
|Form of government||republic|
|Government system||Presidential system|
|Head of state , also head of government||President Juan Orlando Hernández|
|population||9,182,766 estimate July 2018|
|Population density||79 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+1.64% (2016)|
gross domestic product
|Gross domestic product per inhabitant||2016|
|Human Development Index||0.625 ( 129th ) (2016)|
|independence||September 15, 1821
(from Spain )
Do bandera es un lampo de cielo
|National holiday||September 15th
|Time zone||UTC − 6|
|ISO 3166||HN , HND, 340|
Honduras ([ hɔnˈduːras ], Spanish pronunciation [ onˈduɾas ], full name Republic of Honduras , Spanish República de Honduras ) is a state in Central America . Honduras borders Nicaragua , El Salvador and Guatemala . The country name is derived from the Spanish word hondura , which means depth .
|El Salvador||342 km|
|Caribbean coast||644 km|
|Pacific coast||124 km|
|a total of||2288 km|
Location and topography
Honduras lies at the widest point of the Central American land bridge and borders Nicaragua in the southeast , Guatemala in the northwest and El Salvador in the southwest . The south coast lies on the North Pacific , in the north lies the Caribbean Sea . Here , the coastal lowlands, interspersed with rivers, swamps and lagoons , extend 70 kilometers inland. A mountain range crossed by several rivers runs through the predominantly mountainous country from east to west. The highest point in the country is the Cerro Las Minas with a height of 2870 meters. There are numerous volcanic islands in front of the Gulf of Fonseca in the southwest. There are numerous banana plantations in the valleys on the Caribbean coast . Most of the population lives in the western part of the country and in the department of Cortés north of Lake Yojoa .
Honduras has a tropical climate that is temperate at the higher elevations inland. In the always humid Caribbean lowlands, the average annual temperature is around 26 ° C. In the winter-dry Pacific region the annual mean is around 31 ° C, in the higher temperate regions around 20 ° C. The amount of precipitation decreases from north to south. In the mountain valleys the annual mean is 1016 millimeters, along the north coast it is 2540 millimeters. The dry season lasts from November to May. The rainy season begins around May and ends in October. On the Caribbean coast, however, it rains all year round. Cyclone Mitch caused great damage in November 1998.
Most of the country's rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The 320 kilometers long Río Patuca and 240 kilometers long Río Ulúa are the two longest rivers in the country. The largest lake and at the same time the largest drinking water reservoir in Honduras is the approximately 80 km² Lago de Yojoa .
- Río Patuca is the longest river in Honduras and the second longest in Central America
- Río Ulúa is the country's economically most important river.
- Río Choluteca flows through the capital Tegucigalpa .
- Río Negro border river to Nicaragua .
- Río Coco another border river between Honduras and Nicaragua.
- Río Goascorán a river on the border with El Salvador .
- Río Talgua
- Río Culmí
- Río Wuampú
- Rio Guayape
- Río Boquerón
- Río Cangrejal
Honduras has a great natural wealth. These include in particular the still almost untouched largest contiguous rainforest in Central America in the northeast of the country (Mosquitia) as well as the world's largest coral reef ecosystem after the Australian barrier reef around the Caribbean islands off the Honduran mainland ( Islas de la Bahía ). In both cases, however, there is also the risk of increasing environmental hazards from illegal logging and slash and burn due to demographic pressure on the one hand and from overfishing , marine pollution and increasing diving tourism on the other.
Increasingly, however, the idea of promoting international ecotourism is also gaining ground in the Honduran government . In the big cities there are many environmental problems such as water shortages, erosion phenomena, a lack of sewage disposal, illegal landfills and uncontrolled construction activity.
About 48.1 percent of the country is covered by forest (2000). The approximately 5000 km² large Río Plátano biosphere reserve is the largest nature reserve in Honduras and is one of the last remaining intact rainforest areas in Central America. The park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982 . In total, around ten percent of the country's area is under nature protection. Oak and pine forests cover the cooler highlands, grasses predominate in the lowlands, and mangroves and palm trees can be found in the coastal areas. Every year around 3000 km² of forest are destroyed.
Where the wood can be transported away, overexploitation has already greatly reduced the stocks of precious woods such as mahogany , cedar and yellowwood . In the meantime, US companies have also started to use the pine savannahs in the northeast for timber. If this development continues, deserts will have replaced the lush forests in about 20 years.
Honduras is home to numerous animal species, including a. Insects , crocodiles , snakes , lizards , turtles , deer , monkeys (e.g. the white-shouldered capuchin , Honduras' smallest monkey) and coyotes . Big cats like jaguars , puma and ocelot as well as various reptiles , birds and marine animals live here .
The population is concentrated in the highlands of the northwestern part of the country, the area around Tegucigalpa and the Pacific south. In contrast to Guatemala , for example , the vast majority of the Honduran population belongs to the mestizos , descendants of European colonialists and immigrants and the indigenous people of the country. They make up about ninety percent of the population. The rest of the population is made up of indigenous people (seven percent), blacks (two percent) and Europeans (one percent).
The Garifuna , who have Indian and Black African ancestors, live mainly in coastal villages on the entire Caribbean coast of Honduras, Belize and z. T. Nicaragua and Guatemala. They have retained a completely independent culture and still speak the Garífuna language , which is one of the Arawak languages . Contrary to popular belief, the Garifuna have not lived very long on the Cayos Cochinos and the Islas de la Bahía (Bay Islands). The Garifuna settlements there did not emerge until the 1950s.
In the interior of the country and in Mosquitia there are still small groups of indigenous people. They have withdrawn into mountain valleys that are difficult to access, where they are cut off from the education and health systems and from political events. Some tribes of river Indians roam the forests on the Caribbean coast as hunters and gatherers . The advancement of the logging columns could also destroy their habitat.
The high population growth is intensifying the rural exodus and causing urban slums to grow. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line , a fifth are illiterate . Undernourishment and malnutrition are widespread. Medical care in the country is miserable. Although the proportion of illiterate people has been reduced to below 20 percent in the cities, it is still over 50 percent in the countryside. The poor educational and professional level of education of the population is in turn a reason for the shortage of skilled workers, which hinders development in all areas of society.
Honduras is a country of emigration and around 720,000 people have left the country. 600,000 of them live in the United States. Other destination countries are Spain (40,000) and Mexico (20,000). Honduras itself has a very low immigration rate. In 2017, only 0.4% of the population were born abroad.
The age structure of the Honduran population is characterized by the relatively high population growth of currently 2.8 percent annually. Children and young people under the age of 15 make up over a third (41 percent) of the total population. In these indicators, Honduras is well above the Latin American average (annual population growth: 1.6 percent; population under 15: 30 percent).
41 percent of the population are under 15 years old, 56 percent are between 15 and 64 years old, 4 percent are older than 65 years. The average age is 19 years.
The official language is Spanish , which is also spoken by the mestizos. In addition, indigenous languages are common, such as Miskito and Tawahka on the Miskito coast , or a few thousand Kekchí and Chortí speakers in the west. Creole-colored English is spoken on the Atlantic coast and on the offshore islands .
The population belongs to a similarly large proportion of the Roman Catholic (47%) and other Christian ( Protestant and Evangelical) faiths (41%). With support from the USA, various Protestant churches have carried out successful missionary work, particularly on the Islas de la Bahía. However, the Catholics are still by far the largest religious community. The Archbishop of Tegucigalpa and former chairman of the Latin American Bishops' Conference, Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga , who was elevated to the cardinal status at the beginning of 2001, is internationally recognized . As chairman of the anti-corruption commission formed by the president, he advocates more transparency and social responsibility in the political life of his country.
The indigenous peoples - especially in the remote regions - still profess their traditional Mesoamerican religions , which, however, have amalgamated Christian or African religious elements over time.
Poverty in Honduras
Along with Haiti, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Central America. Although 61.9% of the population live below the national poverty line , only 17.2% of the population live below the international poverty line (US $ 1.90, 2011 PPP).
Every year, many Hondurans emigrate abroad, primarily to the USA . Unemployment in Honduras is high, but the statistics are hardly reliable due to the employment structure. It is precisely the actual poverty of the rural population that can not be recorded using unemployment statistics.
Also problematic are the youth gangs like “ Barrio 18 ” (also known as Mara 18) or “ Mara salvatrucha ”, which sometimes terrorize entire neighborhoods and cities, which have emerged from poverty and hopelessness . Many members come from broken families. It is estimated that the two rival youth gangs each have up to 40,000 members. Similar gangs, whose members their affiliation u. a. Expressing through tattoos are also a problem in other neighboring states. The government is cracking down on these youth gangs. Since 2003 there has been a law that punishes membership in a gang with at least three years in prison. The Catholic Church and other Christian organizations have set up a rehabilitation program for former “mareros”.
The fertility rate is 3.7 children per woman. The under-5 mortality rate is 40 per 1,000 live births. Honduras has 57 doctors per 100,000 inhabitants. Life expectancy is 71.1 years (as of 2016).
The largest single item in the Honduran national budget is the education sector. This area accounts for almost 20% of the total budget. The country has around 60,000 teachers who look after around a million primary school students and 700,000 secondary school students. The government is intensifying its efforts to reduce the illiteracy rate by 11.5%. In Honduras, school attendance is compulsory for children between the ages of seven and twelve, and schooling is free. Even so, around 50% of all children in Honduras do not have a primary school certificate. The reasons are a lack of funds for school books and teaching aids, a shortage of teachers in remote areas and sometimes school lessons in large classes (1st to 6th grade) in a single classroom. After compulsory schooling, the plan basico can be completed (usually at the age of 15). Thereafter, a technical diploma can be obtained at the colegio in a further 6 years (3 years basic course and 3 years specialization). If you want to study later, you get a high school diploma, the bachillerato .
There are two state universities , the " National Autonomous University of Honduras " (UNAH) in Tegucigalpa with further study centers in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Santa Rosa de Copán and Comayagua and the " National Pedagogical University Francisco Morazán " (UNPFM) in Tegucigalpa . The most important private universities are the Technical University ( Universidad Tecnologíca ) and the University supported by the Catholic Church ( Universidad Católica ). There are also two universities of applied sciences in the agricultural and forestry sector ( Escuela Agricola Panamericana Zamorano , Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Forestales ).
Before the arrival of the Europeans and discovery
Evidence of Maya settlements in Honduras has been around since at least 1000 BC. In Copán in the west of the country, but like many Mayan city-states, these were also abandoned under mysterious circumstances around 900 AD. Columbus set foot on the American mainland for the first time near Trujillo in northern Honduras in 1502 and named the country "Honduras" (depth) in reference to the great depth of the water off the Caribbean coast.
Cristóbal de Olid went ashore on May 3, 1523 on behalf of Hernán Cortés and took possession of it for the Spanish crown. When the Spanish conquistadors invaded this area, which was formerly inhabited by the Maya , in 1524 , they encountered numerous warring Indian peoples such as the Lenca , Pipil , Chorotega , Jicaques , Paya and others, who initially offered bitter resistance. In 1525 Hernán Cortés undertook a military campaign, in 1536 Pedro de Alvarado another to put down the uprising led by Chief Lempira . In 1540 the Spaniards finally founded the capital Comayagua and incorporated the province into the General Capitanate of Guatemala. The current capital, Tegucigalpa, was founded in 1578 as a settlement near gold and silver mines. The Spanish colonists were primarily interested in mining these precious metals. The indigenous population, originally numbering over 1.2 million people, decimated to around 88,000 by 1778 as a result of wars , forced labor and imported diseases. The indigenous people kept their common land on which they were allowed to operate subsistence farming, but were regularly obliged by the colonial administration to provide workers for mines and plantations.
In 1821 the provincial oligarchy joined the uprising of the other Central American provinces against the Spanish crown. After only two years of association with the Empire of Mexico, they became independent in the confederation of the "United Provinces of Central America" ( Central American Confederation ). One of his leading figures, the "Central American Bolívar" revered Francisco Morazán (1792–1842), came from Honduras. But even he could not prevent the breakout of his home province and the collapse of the confederation in 1839. From the beginning of "Freedom", several factions of the oligarchy fought for power.
The development after independence
From 1821 to 1876, 85 governments took turns. It was not until 1876 that the government stabilized and Marco Aurelio Soto initiated a liberal turn: he secularized church property, introduced civil marriage and a state education system. Its opponents (church and landowners) and supporters (the urban bourgeoisie) later organized themselves into the National Party and the Liberal Party , which have remained the most important parties to this day. At the same time, Soto drove the development and opening of the world market in the isolated country. Generous concessions attracted US corporations and led to the development of the " banana republic ". The story of a colony-like foreign control began. The dictators Tiburcio Carías Andino and Juan Manuel Gálvez , who were in power from 1933 to 1948 and 1949 to 1954, respectively, acted as henchmen for the United Fruit Company . The strike of around 25,000 workers on the US banana plantations in 1954 ushered in the taming of power that was exercised by the "banana enclave" on the "rest of the country". Also in 1954, Honduras made its territory available to an invasion force organized by the CIA as part of Operation PBSUCCESS to overthrow Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán .
The general, equal and secret (1906: public) male suffrage had already been introduced with the constitution of 1894; it was not until 1954 that active women's suffrage became law. While women's suffrage was optional , it was compulsory for men to vote . The minimum age required for voting rights varied between 18 and 21 years.
In 1969 there was a military conflict with El Salvador , which went down in history as the " football war ". The reason was tensions over economic refugees from El Salvador, who have long been held responsible for the economic problems and hostile by the people of Honduras. The war killed 3,000 people and 6,000 were injured. However, the conflict itself lasted until 1980 and was settled through a peace agreement with the mediation of the Organization of American States .
The reform approaches of President José Ramón Villeda Morales , who ruled from 1957 to 1963, were initially stopped by military coups, but the military government under Oswaldo López Arellano , who was in power from 1972 to 1975, picked them up again and drove them under the Pressure from trade unions and farmers' organizations is advancing. Above all, it tackled a comparatively large-scale agrarian reform, although its implementation was slowed down by two subsequent military governments. However, the levels of repression and torture under the military regimes in Honduras were not quite as pronounced as in neighboring countries. They banned all too left parties and organizations, but left the two big parties and their splits, and above all the strong peasant organizations, political freedom. This authoritarian tolerance is one of the main reasons why guerrilla groups in Honduras have so far not got beyond the announcement of armed resistance. The so-called Battalion 316 is accused of murdering, enforced disappearance and torture of hundreds of Hondurans in connection with the dictatorship. The battalion was trained by the American CIA and the Argentine military .
Return to democracy
In the presidential elections of 1981, which signaled a return to democracy, the Liberal Party's candidate, Roberto Suazo Córdova , won a clear majority. Many observers had doubts about its political viability in a country where there have been 125 military coups in 150 years. He survived a severe economic crisis and many rumors of coups. He and his successor José Azcona Hoyo , however, had to accept it, for better or worse, that Honduras became a bridgehead for the USA in the undeclared war against Nicaragua . It was not until 1989 that an international conference reached agreement on the withdrawal of the Nicaraguan "contras".
The country, plagued by the debt crisis, is dependent on foreign survival aid (especially from the USA), but it is not available without consideration. The tradition of outside determination was given a new variant, the word "banana republic" a new justification. The aftermath of the massive US presence included nationalist upsurges. In 1992 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras signed a free trade agreement . President Carlos Roberto Reina , elected in 1993, tried during his term of office to curb the influence of the military . His successor Carlos Roberto Flores Facussé initiated a reform-oriented economic policy. In the 2002 presidential elections, Ricardo Maduro Joest of the National Party emerged victorious.
In 1998, cyclone Mitch swept across Honduras several times, devastating large parts of the country. Even Tegucigalpa , almost 300 km away from the Caribbean coast , was not spared and the consequences of the natural disaster are still visible today. “Mitch” threw the Honduran economy back by years, as the banana plantations in particular suffered from the disaster.
The presidential elections in November 2005 won Manuel Zelaya Rosales again as a Liberal candidate. Above all, he promised sustainable measures against crime. Manuel Zelaya, however, wanted to have a constitutional referendum held after his four-year term in office, which would have made his re-election possible. Since this did not correspond to the Honduran constitution, impeachment proceedings were initiated against him by the two chambers of congress, which was confirmed by the Supreme Court (Corte Suprema de Justicia). Since Zelaya refused to obey, the chief judge arranged for his arrest.
On the morning of June 28, 2009, the incumbent President Manuel Zelaya Rosales was overthrown by the military , first captured and then flown to Costa Rica . In large parts of the capital, the electricity was cut and the telephone connections were cut. The state television channel Canal 8 and many radio stations, as well as foreign channels such as teleSUR and Cubavisión Internacional , were switched off. The television channels that were not switched off did not broadcast any political information. As his successor, Roberto Micheletti was appointed interim president by the parliament , who was the first to impose a 48-hour curfew. Nevertheless, there were protests. The new president was not recognized internationally. All EU states and all American states, with the exception of the USA, withdrew their diplomatic missions at ambassador level from Honduras. Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala closed their borders with Honduras. On September 21, 2009, Zelaya surprisingly returned to Honduras and found temporary asylum in the Brazilian embassy. From May 2011, Zelaya signed a contract with President Lobo to remain in the country.
On November 29, 2009, the presidential election took place as planned. Porfirio Lobo Sosa was elected as the new President of Honduras .
In 2013, Juan Orlando Hernández succeeded Lobos due to a re-election ban.
In the aftermath of the November 2017 elections, which Hernández narrowly won, accusations of manipulation were raised and the opposition, with candidate Salvador Nasralla, refused to recognize the result. At least 20 people were killed in unrest by mid-January 2018 and over 1,500 people were arrested. The opposition wanted to continue the protests until at least the inauguration on January 27, 2018.
In the 2019 Democracy Index of the British magazine The Economist, Honduras ranks 90th out of 167 countries and is therefore considered a "hybrid regime". H. a state whose political system is a hybrid of democracy and authoritarian state. In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “partially free”. Although the country has a multi-party system, political stability is threatened by corruption, institutional weakness and the pervasive violence in the country.
According to the 1982 constitution, Honduras is a democratic constitutional state. Separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary are guaranteed. Traditionally, the President, who has extensive powers, plays a predominant role. The president is directly elected by the people. The president's term of office is four years, with no possibility of re-election. The unicameral national congress consists of a total of 128 members of the two large traditional parties ( Partido Liberal and Partido Nacional ) as well as the splinter parties PINU , PDCH and PUD . The Supreme Court has nine judges jointly appointed by the government and parliament, and their term of office is seven years. Recent institutional reforms have created a national audit office and a supreme electoral court.
Since the late 1980s, the respective state presidents have emerged from free and democratic elections. During this time, the two major parties took over responsibility for government. On June 28, 2009, however, the last elected President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by the military. The coup was preceded by a dispute over a referendum to convene a constituent assembly . The referendum was planned for the day of the coup. The President continued the efforts of the previous government to fight poverty and improve economic and social conditions. These efforts were made considerably more difficult by the devastating hurricane "Mitch" in late 1998. The poverty reduction program presented by Honduras in September 2001 was adopted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as a prerequisite for the country's participation in the HIPC (Highly-Indebted Poor Countries) debt relief initiative. A first step in this direction was the agreement with the IMF in February 2004 on a three-year aid program for 2004/2006.
The human rights situation in Honduras has improved considerably following the consolidation of the peace process in Central America and the establishment of democratic governments. However, according to information from non-governmental human rights organizations, there are always institutional inadequacies and attacks by the police and security agencies. Members of ethnic minorities (members of indigenous peoples, descendants of black African slaves) and socially disadvantaged groups ( street children ) are particularly affected . An unresolved problem from the past is the impunity of civil servants who have committed human rights abuses during the rule of the military regime. Repeated efforts by the Human Rights Commissioner appointed by the National Congress and national non-governmental organizations ( Committee of Family Members of Arrested / Disappeared ) have so far failed to produce the expected results. The situation in Honduran prisons is worrying. In May 2004 there was a fire in the central prison in the second largest Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, in which over 100 people died. According to Amnesty International and local human rights groups such as the children's rights organization Casa Alianza, the use of the military to fight crime, decreed by the then President Ricardo Maduro Joest, has not led to an improvement. One problem is the fight against gang crime , which is escalating, especially in the big cities .
Since the coup in Honduras in 2009, human rights organizations have complained of a continuing wave of human rights violations against opponents of the coup, including numerous murders, torture, rape and kidnapping. The chairwoman of the Committee for Family Members of the Arrested and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) , Bertha Oliva, described the human rights violations under the Lobo government as "systematic and selective" and stated that these human rights violations are now being committed by paid individuals. In addition, officials from state institutions are actively involved in manipulating investigations and covering up reports of human rights violations.
A major fire broke out in Comayagua prison on February 14, 2012, killing 358 inmates. The prison was designed for 400 people, but overcrowded with 820 people.
After the settlement of the civil wars in Nicaragua (1990), El Salvador (1992) and Guatemala (1996), Honduras is particularly interested in the economic development in the region and in the further integration of Central America. The country is an active member of the Central American Integration System established by the 1991 Tegucigalpa Protocol . There have been border disputes with Nicaragua and El Salvador for some time, each of which was submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for legal clarification and, in some cases, also resolved. The Organization of American States (OAS) also deals with border issues and acts as a mediator.
Relations with the neighboring states in the north (Guatemala, Belize and Mexico ) and in the south ( Costa Rica , Panama ) are friendly. On April 16, 2001, the free trade agreement signed the year before (“Tratado de Libre Comercio”) between Mexico and the three countries of the so-called “northern triangle” El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala came into force.
Honduras has diplomatic relations with Taiwan . Relations with this country, but also with Japan and South Korea , are intensive due to the considerable developmental achievements and the commercial weight of the states concerned. In January 2002 diplomatic relations with Cuba were restored.
Honduras had 370 soldiers stationed in Iraq during the Third Gulf War and was one of the states of the “ Coalition of the Willing ” that the USA supported with troops. Shortly after Spain's decision to withdraw its soldiers, Honduras followed suit in mid-April 2004.
Membership in international organizations
Honduras is a founding member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States , from which it has been temporarily suspended since July 5, 2009. Honduras' membership in CELAC is also currently suspended. Belonging to the WTO , the Bretton Woods institutions ( International Monetary Fund and World Bank ) and the institutions of the Central American integration system is important for the country's foreign policy . UNDP , UNIDO , UNICEF , FAO , WHO , IMF , World Bank , Inter-American Development Bank , OAS and the International Organization for Migration (OIM) have their own representations in Honduras. The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) is based in Tegucigalpa. Honduras is a member of Petrocaribe .
Security and crime
Honduras remained, at least in terms of cities, one of the most unsafe countries in the world during the years after 2000. The newspapers were full of reports of murders , assaults , rape , break-ins and kidnappings every day . Some of these acts, though probably not to the extent portrayed by the media, are the responsibility of youth gangs (maras). In the cities, it is primarily the poor areas that are affected by the violence. There are many government and private security guards in the richer neighborhoods. However, many violent crimes also have a private background.
After an increase of over 50 in 2007, the murder rate (acts per 100,000 inhabitants) peaked well over 80 in 2011/2012, then slowly fell to 60 by 2016 and fell again sharply below 50 in 2017 Viewed worldwide, according to the UNODC figures in 2015 , Honduras had the world's second highest number of homicides per inhabitant, namely 63.7 per 100,000 (first place was El Salvador with 108.6, in Germany it was 0.8) . In a global comparison of cities (larger than 300,000 inhabitants), San Pedro Sula was in first place for the fourth time in a row in 2014 with 171.2 homicides / 100,000 inhabitants.
In April 1995, parliament decided to abolish general conscription and to build up armed forces from volunteer soldiers with a strength of approx. 18,800 men. A constitutional amendment in January 1999 made the armed forces ( Fuerzas Armadas de Honduras ) subordinate to the President.
Honduras is divided into 18 administrative districts ( Departamentos ).
Most important cities
The capital and largest city with 1.05 million inhabitants (as of 2017) is Tegucigalpa , it is located in the southern part of the country in the mountains, in the hinterland of the Pacific coast. The largest city in the north is San Pedro Sula (640,000 inhabitants), it is located in the north-west of the country, at a distance of about 40 km from the Caribbean coast and is an important trading center. The three most important international airports are located in these two cities, as well as in La Ceiba (189,000 inhabitants), which together with Puerto Cortés (65,000 inhabitants) are the largest port cities on the Caribbean coast.
In 2016, 55.3% of the population lived in cities or urban areas. The largest cities are (as of 2017):
- Tegucigalpa : 1,051,600 inhabitants
- San Pedro Sula : 640,200 inhabitants
- La Ceiba : 189,500 inhabitants
- Choloma : 184,700 inhabitants
- El Progreso : 117,600 inhabitants
- Comayagua : 103,300 inhabitants
- Choluteca : 92,310 inhabitants
- Villanueva : 70,960 inhabitants
For many, Honduras is still the proverbial “ banana republic ”. Today this designation is just as misleading as the division into the “banana enclave” and the “rest of the country”. Three US corporations, the United Fruit Company , the Standard Fruit Company and the Cuyamel Fruit Company , had appropriated huge areas in the Caribbean lowlands with the help of generous concessions at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. They built roads, railroads, and settlements for their workers and became the largest employers in the country; they paid little taxes, although their profits exceeded the state budget for many years; they made the "enclave" the world's largest exporter of bananas; they corrupted the politicians and provided compliant dictators with money and weapons. When they could not cope with strikes and unrest in 1911, 1913 and 1924/1925, Washington sent intervention troops. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, bought the United Fruit Company to Cuyamel competitors and became the "state within a state". The dictator Tiburcio Carías Andino , who ruled from 1933 to 1948, provided her support by suppressing trade unions and strikes. After the big strike of 1954, the two companies gradually reduced their plantations and halved the number of workers. Gradually the state took more influence on the production and marketing of the bananas. At the same time, the “rest of the country” was catching up. The share of bananas in total exports fell from around 50% in the 1960s to a third in the 1990s. The proportions of coffee and meat in particular increased.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Central America. Most of the population (80%) lives at or below the absolute poverty line . The economic situation is characterized by a high unemployment rate and extremely high foreign debt. Honduras benefits from the international debt relief adopted in 2005. In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Honduras ranks 96th out of 137 countries (2017-2018). In 2017, the country ranks 100th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .
In line with the recommendations of the international donor community, the Honduran government is increasingly investing in the social sector as part of its national poverty reduction strategy. Education, health, social security, social housing and rural development programs (i.e. the implementation of the national poverty reduction strategy) account for nearly 50% of the 2005 budget. The government's economic policy is characterized by close cooperation with bilateral and multilateral donors and international financial institutions. Honduras is a liberal market economy geared towards free trade and investment facilitation (processing regime, free port regulations, tariff and tax concessions for investors, free transfer of capital). In particular, the maquila legislation based on the Mexican model has brought numerous investors into the country in recent years, particularly from the USA , Taiwan and South Korea . Textile and wood processing is concentrated in San Pedro Sula near the Caribbean coast, the country's second largest city and economic center. The sector employs around 130,000 people in total and generated US $ 830.7 million in 2004 .
Macroeconomic data show that the Honduran economy has largely recovered from the aftermath of the cyclone. The up to 70% destroyed cultures of the two major export products (coffee and bananas) are now producing at the level before the disaster. The gross domestic product (GDP) showed a growth rate of 5.0% for 2004 and was thus well above the population growth (2.5%). The inflation rate was 9.2%. Problems for Honduras are the low world market prices for coffee, the restrictions on market access for bananas and, in particular, the oil price increases in 2004.
The Honduran currency is called Lempira , named after the Indian freedom fighter and national hero who rebelled against the Spanish invaders until his death in 1537. 100 centavos are a lempira. A significant part of the Honduran economy is dollarized; This means that transactions above a certain amount (e.g. rental contracts and a large part of the savings accounts) are carried out in US dollars. Unlike in the officially dollarized neighboring country El Salvador or Nicaragua, however, you cannot pay with dollars in small shops, for example at the supermarket checkout or when taking a taxi - with the exception of the tourist centers of the Islas de la Bahía , where the dollar essentially functions as a second currency .
A third of the land area could be used for agriculture; in fact it's only about 12%. While many large landowners leave huge areas fallow, most smallholders have too little land to grow enough food for their own families and also for the rapidly growing urban population. A land reform initiated between 1974 and 1978 was intended to provide 120,000 families with land. The resistance of the big landowners and administrative problems delayed the implementation. In the end, their target was missed by half; a third of the population still has to make ends meet as migrant workers. The efforts of the development planners to overcome the dangerous foreign trade of the banana monoculture were more successful.
The economy is geared towards the agricultural sector, which produces 15% of GDP . However, bananas are no longer the main crops, but coffee and crustaceans . Most family farms produce corn and beans for their own use. Bananas and coffee are grown for export on the few large plantations that are mostly owned by the United States.
Forestry and fishing
The forestry is one of the country's major industry. However, the increasing economic use of the forests goes hand in hand with the ecological damage to the tropical rainforest stocks in the country. In 1998 alone, the wood processing industry cleared 6.92 million cubic meters of wood. Reforestation programs are hampered by ruthless deforestation methods and poor transport infrastructure. Valuable types of wood are pine, mahogany, ebony , walnut and rosewood . The fishing industry consists mainly of shellfish catches.
Another 50 percent of GDP is accounted for by trade and other services. There has been slight real growth in recent years, but the medium-sized economy is still doing poorly. Almost all foreign companies can make a profit because they build factories in Honduras due to the low minimum wages and the large number of unemployed people. The steadily growing tourism is a growing source of income . Particularly popular are the large archaeological sites of thousands of years old Mayan ruins in Copán (Ruínas de Copán) and the Islas de la Bahía (Bay Islands), an island chain in the north of the country. It mainly consists of the three offshore Caribbean islands Utila (the smallest), Guanaja and Roatán , the largest and at the same time the most popular of them. The number of tourists increases annually, further growth is expected in this area. In 2004, Honduras received over one million visitors and generated sales of 400 million US dollars.
Honduras has taken the first steps towards industrialization - albeit not on its own, but with the help of foreign companies and foreign capital, primarily from the USA. US corporations dominate all profitable industrial and service sectors. The local small and medium-sized enterprises, which mainly process agricultural products, generate only about 40% of industrial production with their low productivity, but employ almost two thirds of industrial workers. Honduras was unable to cope with the competitive pressure within the Central American Common Market and used the football war with El Salvador (1969) as an excuse to leave. The industrialization has so far done little to reduce high unemployment.
The main focus of the underdeveloped industry is the processing of agricultural products. The foreign currency urgently needed for economic development is generated from the remittances of the approximately one million people abroad in Shonduras and by the tourism industry.
The real unemployment rate is 40 percent and the legal minimum time depending on employment 4055 L to 5500 L . This means that the monthly minimum wage is around 160 to 220 euros. The official unemployment rate is given as 5.9% in 2017. The underemployment rate is estimated at a third of the population. The total number of employees is estimated at 3.7 million for 2017, 37.8% of them women.
Important unions are the Confederación de Trabajadores de Honduras , Confederación General de Trabajadores and the Confederación Unitaria de Trabajadores de Honduras . The trade unions do not represent a single, unified force. The most important trade union umbrella organization is the "Confederación de Trabajadores de Honduras", which strives for modern management and international cooperation. Individual unions have significant weight, such as the banana workers union and the association of teachers and health workers.
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).
(purchasing power parity)
|5.23 billion||7.35 billion||10.01 billion||13.44 billion||17.21 billion||24.27 billion||26.66 billion||29.06 billion||30.89 billion||30.37 billion||31.89 billion||33.79 billion||35.84 billion||37.43 billion||39.27 billion||41.22 billion||43.31 billion||46.20 billion|
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
(as a percentage of GDP)
Despite the export orientation of the Honduran foreign trade, the trade balance shows a negative balance. In 2004, Honduras exported goods worth $ 1,580.5 million and imported goods worth $ 3,678.5 million. The services balance is positive thanks to the expanding tourism sector. Finally, an important economic factor are free transfers, i. H. Remittances from around 1 million Hondurans living abroad (2016: 3,700 million US dollars, i.e. approx. 18% of GDP). The ratio of international currency reserves to external debt was around 30% in 2004. The release of funds expected in 2005 as part of the debt relief initiative in favor of the most heavily indebted poor developing countries (HIPC) will improve this situation.
The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 4.38 billion , which was offset by income equivalent to US $ 3.98 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 1.9% of GDP .
The national debt in 2016 was $ 9.7 billion, or 45.4% of GDP.
In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
The road network is around 13,603 kilometers long, of which 20 percent (around 2,775 km) are paved. The Panamericana (160 kilometers in Honduras) connects the country with Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. Weatherproof roads lead from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula, Puerto Cortés, La Ceiba and the most important cities on the Caribbean coast and the Golfo de Fonseca in the south. It is not advisable to drive after dark. It is advisable to use off-road vehicles away from the highways. Long-distance buses , the main mode of transport, run regularly between the larger cities. Early booking is recommended, the fares are very cheap. Taxis do not have a taximeter ; flat rates apply within the cities. You are not always in a safe state. For longer journeys, the fare should be agreed in advance. There are also collective taxes , so-called colectivos.
The rail network in Honduras, which was built mainly for the transport of bananas, stretches for almost 700 kilometers along the north coast. There are only three railway lines in the north of the country. Visitors could travel on a banana train from San Pedro Sula and transfer to a tourist train in La Ceiba. This last line has also been out of service since 2007. However, efforts have been made to rebuild since 2010. A first section within San Pedro Sula was put back into operation.
The mountainous character of the country makes the airplane an important means of transport. Three international airports and over 100 small airfields are in operation. The domestic airlines Isleña Airlines , Aero Honduras , Atlantic Honduras and Sosa Airlines connect Tegucigalpa with the country's provincial cities on a daily basis. The other major airports are San Pedro Sula (SAP), La Ceiba (LCE) and Roatan Island Airport (RTB). Isleña Airlines and Sosa Airlines offer flights to the island of Utila off the Caribbean coast. There are over 30 airports for business and charter traffic. Remote regions are also regularly served by light aircraft.
Lake Yojoa and a number of rivers are navigable. The length of the navigable waterways is 465 km. Ferries operate between the ports on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Details can be obtained from the port authorities. From La Ceiba and Puerto Cortés there are connections to the Islas de la Bahía several times a week. Arrangements must be made with the boat owners.
Telecommunications and internet
The country code for Honduras is 00504. There are no other area codes (for cities or regions). However, the landline numbers in a region always begin with the same digits (e.g. Tegucigalpa with 23). Mobile phone numbers start with a 9 (tigo), an 8 (digicell) or a 3 (claro). There are roughly three hundred thousand telephone connections and a little more cell phones in Honduras. There are around 170,000 Internet access points nationwide.
The state monopoly telephone company Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones ( Hondutel ) is the only provider of telephone lines. In the touristic areas such as the Islas de la Bahía and the region around Tela and La Ceiba there are several local providers of satellite and radio-based Internet connections. Public phones are often card phones . In some places there are also public switchboards from Hondutel, where you can receive and send faxes, and make and receive calls. One internet provider is NetSys. There are numerous internet cafés in larger cities and tourist regions .
Efforts to privatize the fixed line sector have so far failed, as potential buyers shy away from the enormous investment sums that would be required to make the previously state-owned telephone company Hondutel profitable. The state-owned company currently operates around 300,000 landline connections; around 400,000 potential customers are on the waiting list. The waiting times until a connection is relocated and activated are an average of three years, in many cases up to seven years. (However, by paying an appropriate amount to the respective Hondutel employee, the time can be shortened to two weeks). Customers who can afford it switch to the services of the two private mobile phone providers Airtel Africa and Megatel . You cannot call cell phones from public telephone boxes operated by Hondutel. For calls abroad, especially to the USA and Europe, many Hondurans use the very inexpensive Internet telephony option, which is offered in almost every Internet café.
In 2016, 21.5% of the population used the internet.
Airmail to Europe takes four to seven days. Post offices are open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The situation of the Honducor State Post Office is problematic. Due to its poor service (long transport times and high risk of shipments being lost), it is in financial straits that almost led to its closure in 2002. Those who can afford it send private couriers.
In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Honduras was ranked 140th out of 180 countries. According to the report of the non-governmental organization, the press freedom situation in the country is "difficult".
A journalist was killed in Honduras in 2017. According to the Reporters Without Borders report, the victim's death is directly related to journalistic activity.
The freedom of the press and freedom of information in Honduras is not restricted by state intervention, but is considerably restricted by the oligopoly-like ownership structure of the media organs. There are around 100 private radio stations and 9 private television stations in Honduras.
The owners of the nationwide daily newspapers, radio and television stations are either politicians themselves (ex-President Carlos Flores owns the daily El Tiempo ) or closely interwoven with them in their interests (other daily newspapers with nationwide distribution are El Heraldo , La Prensa and La Tribuna ). Journalists are made compliant through corruption or reprisals (e.g. dismissal). A group of critical and independent journalists called C-Libre campaigns for more freedom of the press and information on a political and social level and runs the Internet newspaper ConexiHon.
With the exception of a few remote indigenous settlements, the culture of Honduras is mainly Spanish. Both in Tegucigalpa and in the former capital Comayagua, colonial buildings predominate. The heart of the colonial architecture is the Baroque cathedral of Comayagua from the 18th century. The most significant Indian heritage is the ruins of Copán, a temple complex from the late Classical era.
Musically, Honduras is shaped by the coexistence and coexistence of different ethnic and cultural identities. The “mainstream” that can be heard on the radio and discotheques contains the mixture of Spanish and English-speaking pop and rock that is common in Latin America and the dominant Latin American music styles from merengue to salsa to reggaeton and bachata . In private and public festivities, the traditional and specific Honduran musical styles are popular, especially the drum-stressed and extremely fast-paced Punta music of the Garifuna . The songwriter Guillermo Anderson , who comes from the coastal town of La Ceiba, combines modern rock, pop and reggae elements with influences from Punta and socially critical lyrics in his songs . At village festivals and other celebrations in the highlands, the music of marimba orchestras is very popular, especially with the elderly. These little combos often consist of senior musicians who, in terms of virtuosity and personal charisma, are quite comparable to their Cuban colleagues at the Buena Vista Social Club . Aurelio Martínez became known among the Garifunas , the black Hondurans , for his Afro-Pop.
The marimba is the most popular musical instrument; it is played predominantly in the northern coastal area and is used in Afro-Caribbean folklore.
In literary terms, Honduras, far removed from the intellectual and commercial centers of Latin America, cannot boast a wide range of successful works or authors. This may be due to the generally low level of education and the fact that the educated middle class, which in many societies makes up most of the top performers of “high culture” (painting, literature, etc.), is vanishingly small in Honduras. In addition, the reading culture is severely hampered by a book market that is economically inaccessible for the vast majority of Hondurans. Only a few works have been translated into German.
Among the earliest evidence of Honduran literature are the pastorelas ( pastourels ) of the founder of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, José Trinidad Reyes (1797–1855), who was influenced by the ideas of the French Revolution and who founded the Honduran theater.
- Late 19th and early 20th centuries
The literary epochs and styles represented on the Latin American subcontinent mostly appeared with a certain delay in Honduras. a. because of the violent conflicts in the first half of the 19th century. Thus, the continued romance until the second half of the work of liberal education reformer, biographer and essayist Ramon Rosa (1848-1893). Juan Ramón Molina (1875–1908) is one of the most important Latin American exponents of modernism . Like many others, he was influenced by Rubén Darío (1867–1916). His most famous work is "Tierras, Mares y Cielos". Froylán Turcios (1875-1943), diplomat, politician and newspaper founder, was an important prose teller who spent the last years of his life in exile in Costa Rica. Romantic prose and modernist poetry dominated until the 1930s.
- Social realism
The founder of social realism and at the same time the most famous Honduran writer was Ramón Amaya Amador (1916–1966). His first and best known novel "Prisión Verde" (first published in 1945; German translation published in 1958 as "The Green Prison" in the GDR ) describes the misery of the workers on the banana plantations of the United Fruit Company in the north of the country and is based on his own experiences of the author. His novels "Aufstand in Tegucigalpa" ("Constructores"), which deals with the struggle of construction workers for a trade union organization, and "Morgendämmerung" ("Amanecer"), which deals with the uprising of 1944, have also been translated into German and published in the GDR in Guatemala, the author's temporary adopted home. The co-founder of the Communist Party of Honduras had to emigrate to Argentina and Czechoslovakia, where he died in a plane crash.
Roberto Sosa (1930–2011) has published several volumes of socially critical poetry and prose since the 1960s: "Los pobres" (for which he received the Spanish Premio Adonaís des Poesía in 1969 ), "Un mundo para todos dividido" and "Prosa armada" . An important literary prize was named after him. The lawyer, sociologist, essayist and poet Livio Ramírez (* 1943) founded the first writing workshop in Honduras in 1971. His collection of poems Sangre y Estrella (1962) became famous .
Other important Honduran writers from the 1970s to 1980s were the poets Óscar Acosta (1933–2014) and José Adán Castelar (1941–2017), the poet, writer, publisher and cultural politician Rigoberto Paredes (1948–2015), the narrator, essayist and Youth book author Eduardo Bär (* 1940) and the author of historical novels and short stories Julio Escoto (* 1944), who had to flee to Costa Rica in the 1980s.
Authors born in the 1960s and 1970s are often referred to as the post-avant-garde generation or generación des 84 . Probably the most successful work in contemporary Honduran literature, the novel "Big Banana" was written by Roberto Quesada (* 1962) and deals with the life of exiles in New York. His work "El humano y la diosa" (1996) received the premio of the instituto latinoamericano de escritores in the USA. Also known was Javier Abril Espinoza "Un ángel atrapado en el huracán" about the destructive effects of hurricanes in the region. Today the author lives in Switzerland. Juan Pablo Suazo Euceda (* 1972) is an agricultural engineer and deals with life in the La Mosquitia province in several of his books . The multi-award-winning short stories by Kalton Harold Bruhl (* 1976) address a. a. the consequences of colonization by the US banana companies, which are ubiquitous to this day. Jessica Sánchez (* 1974) emerged as an effective feminist author throughout Central America . Gustavo Campos (* 1984) is one of the young authors . The poet and photographer Diana Vallejos is one of the authors who are involved in the fight for human rights after the coup in 2009.
Honduran painters are hardly known outside the country - apart from some self-taught “naive” art such as José Antonio Velásquez (1906–1983). The muralist Javier Espinal is one of the contemporary painters who have become famous in Honduras .
The film No amanece igual para Todos (2011) by Manuel Villa, Ramón Hernández and Francisco Andino was not allowed to be shown in the country. The historical film Morazán by Hispano Durón (2017) deals with the betrayal of the Central American reform president and national hero Francisco Morazán in the early 1840s.
The staple foods of the Hondurans are corn , rice and beans . Corn comes mainly in the form of flat tortillas (made exclusively from cornmeal and water) and is part of almost every meal. A typical Honduran breakfast consists of tortillas, bean puree (frijoles fritos) and scrambled or fried eggs , possibly with a few slices of cooked or fried plantain (plátano). A special form of tortilla is the pupusa , a thick corn tortilla that is filled with pieces of sausage or cheese .
In some restaurants you get a so-called Anafre as a starter: A special clay vessel is placed on the guest's table, in which glowing pieces of charcoal melt strips of cheese in bean puree. The resulting mass is then brought to the mouth with the help of crispy fried tortilla pieces ("tostadas"). Chili, which is part of many dishes in the form of sauces or pickled chili peppers, is more unusual for European palates . The traditional sopa de mondongo is made with beef offal.
Another soup specialty is the sopa de caracol , a soup made with giant sea snails cut into strips (the casing of which is used by the Garífuna as a musical instrument in punta music, as blowing into it can produce a loud, very deep sound). On the north coast, especially in the Afrohonduran communities, coconut (milk, rasps, etc.) is used for cooking. A particular specialty of the garífunas is casabe, a type of flat cake made from cassava .
The following holidays are celebrated in Honduras:
- New Year (January 1st)
- American Lands Day (April 14)
- Labor Day (May 1st)
- Independence Day (September 15th)
- Birthday of Morazán, the national hero (October 3rd)
- Columbus Day (October 12)
- Armed Forces Day (October 21)
- Christmas (December 25th)
During Holy Week ( Semana Santa ) the shops close from Wednesday to Sunday. All villages and towns have their own holidays in honor of their respective patron saints. Regional festivals are also held, such as the La Ceiba Carnival in May. At the age of 15, the girls celebrate La Fiesta Rosa , where they are accepted as full members of the social community. Her maturity as a woman is honored at lavish celebrations.
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