U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BACKGROUND NOTES: HONDURAS
RELEASED BY THE BUREAU OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS
APRIL 1997

OFFICIAL NAME:  Republic of Honduras

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 112,100 sq. km. (43,270 sq. mi.); about the size of Louisiana. 
Cities: Capital--Tegucigalpa (800,000); San Pedro Sula metropolitan area 
(400,000).
Terrain: Mountainous.
Climate: Tropical to subtropical, depending on elevation.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Honduran(s).
Population (1996): 5 million (est.).
Growth rate: 3%.
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--68%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--42/1,000. Life expectancy--68 yrs. 
Work force: Services--32%. Natural resources/agriculture--38%. 
Manufacturing--18%. Construction/housing--12%. 

Government

Type: Democratic constitutional republic.
Independence: September 15, 1821.
Constitution: 1982.
Branches: Executive--president, directly elected to four-year term. 
Legislative--unicameral National Congress, elected for four-year term. 
Judicial--Supreme Court of Justice (appointed by Congress and confirmed 
by the president); several lower courts.
Political parties: Liberal Party, National Party, Innovation and Unity 
Party, and Christian Democratic Party.
Suffrage: Universal adult.
Administrative subdivisions: 18 departments.

Economy (1995)

GDP: $3.96 billion.
Growth rate: 3.6%.
Per capita GDP: $722.
Natural resources: Arable land, forests, minerals, fisheries. 
Agriculture (24% of GDP): Products--bananas, coffee, shrimp, sugar, 
fruits, basic grains, livestock.
Industry (15% of GDP): Types--textiles and apparel, cement, wood 
products, cigars, foodstuffs.
Trade: Exports--$1.2 billion: coffee, bananas, shrimp, citrus fruits, 
lead/zinc concentrates, beef, lumber, sugar. Major market--U.S. (50%). 
Imports--$1.7 billion: petroleum, manufactured goods, machinery, 
chemicals. Major supplier--U.S. (41%).
Exchange rate (Dec. 1996): 13 lempiras=U.S.$1.


U.S. POLICY TOWARD HONDURAS

U.S. policy toward Honduras is aimed at consolidating stable democracy, 
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 assisting in the creation of more 
effective institutions 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. To the extent U.S. policy is successful in helping 
democracy and economic opportunity to flourish in Honduras, the 
pressures that compel many Hondurans to attempt to migrate illegally to 
the U.S. will be reduced while creating export markets for U.S. goods 
and services. 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 approximately 13,000 Americans residing 
there. More than 100 American companies operate in Honduras.

U.S. 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. Total aid from the U.S. to Honduras for the period 1991 to 
1995 was $322 million. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) 
obligations to Honduras totaled $16.6 million for development assistance 
and $9.9 million for foodstuffs in 1996. Over the years such 
appropriations have been used to achieve 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. Of the $25 million 
of aid, about $20 million is spent directly on goods and services from 
the United States. In addition, since about half of Honduras' imports 
come from the U.S., development assistance that stimulates growth of the 
Honduran economy indirectly stimulates U.S. exports and thus supports 
additional employment and growth in the U.S. economy.

Other forms of U.S. economic assistance to Honduras include the 
Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, Overseas Private Investment 
Corporation financing and insurance against risks of war and 
expropriation, U.S. Trade Development Agency grant loans for pre-
feasibility 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 at one time 
the program there was the largest in the world. During that time some 
5,000 American women and men, ranging in age from 22 to 65, have helped 
the people of Honduras. In 1996, there were 170 Peace Corps volunteers 
working in the poorest parts of Honduras.

The government of President Reina is committed to the successful 
transition of the national police from military to civilian control, and 
the congress has taken essential constitutional steps to effect that. 
The U.S. Government strongly supports this action. The American Embassy 
in Tegucigalpa provides specialized training to police officers through 
the International Criminal Training Assistance Program (ICITAP).

Security Assistance

The Honduran armed forces have become less influential in national 
political life and is far less operationally capable. The defense and 
police budgets have hovered at around $30 million (USD) during the past 
few years, and the abolition of conscription has resulted in a decrease 
in the size of the armed forces. The volunteer system that was to have 
replaced conscription has not yet been fully implemented and many 
military units are now significantly below authorized strength levels. 
Major reorganization will take place as the police are transferred to a 
civilian ministry, and the position of the Commander in Chief of the 
armed forces is abolished in favor of a presidentially appointed 
Minister of Defense. Meanwhile, formal security assistance has declined 
from over $500 million provided between 1982 and 1993 to $400,000 
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 stationed at the Honduran 
Soto Cano Air Base plays a vital role in supporting combined exercises 
in Honduras and in neighboring Central American countries. In FY 1996, 
four major multilateral exercises and over 40 smaller humanitarian 
deployments were conducted, providing medical services and construction 
of much-needed school and clinical facilities in remote areas of 
Honduras.

U.S. Business Opportunities

The United States has historically been, and remains today, Honduras' 
largest trading partner. Bilateral trade between the two nations totaled 
$1.27 billion in 1995. American business exported $680 million worth of 
goods and services to Honduras in 1995.

U.S. investors account for nearly three-quarters of the estimated $850 
million in foreign direct investment in Honduras, and more than 100 
American companies operate there. The largest U.S. investment in 
Honduras is in the agribusiness sector. Other important sectors include 
petroleum products marketing, maquilas (in bond assembly plants), 
electric power generation, banking, insurance, and tobacco. U.S. 
franchises have taken off in recent years, mostly in the fast food 
sector.

Opportunities for U.S. business include agricultural machinery and 
equipment, automotive parts and service equipment, tourism, medical 
equipment, electrical power systems, and construction equipment and 
products. 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).


U.S.-HONDURAN RELATIONS

Honduras is a firm ally of the United States and generally supports U.S. 
policy in the UN and other forums. In 1995, Honduras' overall voting 
coincidence with the United States in the United Nations increased to 
45.7%, from 45.1% in 1994. Figures for 1996 are not yet available. As a 
non-permanent 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. 
Meanwhile, the U.S. continued to be able to count on Honduras' strong 
support against Iraq.

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 
observers mission in the Western Sahara.

The U.S. works with Honduras for sustained economic, political, and 
social development and to combat drug trafficking in the region. Because 
of economic needs and security concerns, U.S. material assistance and 
political support are important to Honduras. USAID is active in 
Honduras, although official U.S. assistance to the country has been 
reduced--from $51 million in 1993 to $26 million in 1996 -- due to 
worldwide reductions in U.S. bilateral assistance.

To make up for lower levels of bilateral economic aid, Honduras is 
exploring opportunities to increase its exports to the U.S. and 
elsewhere. The United States is Honduras' chief trading partner, 
supplying 41% of its imports and purchasing about half of its exports. 
Leading Honduran exports to the United States include coffee, bananas, 
other fruits and vegetables, seafood, and beef.

The United States encourages U.S. investment that contributes to 
Honduran development and bilateral trade. The United States accounts for 
about 73% of total direct foreign investment in Honduras; this is worth 
about $620 million. The largest U.S. investments in Honduras are in 
fruit production -- particularly banana and citrus, petroleum refining 
and marketing, and mining. In addition, U.S. corporations have invested 
in tobacco, maquila, shrimp culture, beef, poultry and animal-feed 
production, insurance, leasing, food processing, brewing, and furniture 
manufacturing.

The U.S. maintains a small presence at a Honduran military base; the two 
countries conduct joint counternarcotics, humanitarian, and civic action 
exercises. The U.S. Information Service has an active program in 
Honduras. About 170 Peace Corps volunteers work in health, education, 
agriculture, small business development, and forestry.

U.S. troops--in collaboration with counterparts from Brazil and 
Colombia--since 1994 have assisted Honduran soldiers in clearing 
landmines from the country's border with Nicaragua. 


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--James F. Creagan
Deputy Chief of Mission--Deborah R. Schwartz
Consul General--Gregory Frost
USAID Director--Elena L. Brineman
Public Affairs Officer (USIS)--Stedman D. Howard
Defense Attache--Col. G. Keith Fennell
Military Group Commander--Col. Glenn Weidner
Economic Counselor--Donald McNally

The U.S. embassy in Honduras is located on Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa 
(tel.: 011-504-36-9320; faxes: general--011-504-36-9037, USAID--011-504-
36-7776, USIS--011-504-36-9309, Military Group--011-504-33-6171, 
Commercial Section--011-504-38-2888, Consulate--011-504-37-1792). 


Other Contact Information:

Honduran-American Chamber of Commerce
Hotel Honduras Maya
Apartado Postal 1838
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Tel: (504) 32-7043/32-6035
Fax: (504) 32-9959
(Branch office in San Pedro Sula)

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

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


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 proselytization has 
resulted in significant numbers of converts. Spanish is the predominant 
language, although some English is spoken along the northern coast and 
on the Caribbean Bay Islands. Indigenous Indian dialects and the 
Garifuna dialect also are spoken.

The restored Mayan ruins near the Guatemalan border in Copan reflect the 
great Mayan culture that arose in the fourth century. Mayan artifacts 
also can be found at the National Museum in Tegucigalpa. This culture 
had declined by the time Columbus sighted the region in 1502, naming it 
"Honduras" (meaning "depths") for the deep water off the coast. Spaniard 
Hernan Cortes arrived in 1524. The Spanish began founding settlements 
along the coast, and Honduras came under the control of the 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; it then briefly was annexed to the 
Mexican Empire. In 1823, Honduras joined the newly formed United 
Provinces of Central America. Before long, 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 
occurring during this century. The country traditionally lacked both an 
economic infrastructure and social and political integration. Its 
agriculturally based economy came to be dominated 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, Honduras was 
controlled by authoritarian Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino. 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 six-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.

But 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.

A civilian president--Ramon Cruz of the National Party--took power 
briefly in 1970, but proved unable to manage the government. Popular 
discontent had continued to rise after a 1969 border war with El 
Salvador; in December 1972, General Lopez staged another coup. Lopez 
adopted more progressive policies, including land reform, but his regime 
was brought down in the mid-1970s by scandals.

General 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 General Melgar 
Castro (1975-78) and General 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 assumed 
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 and 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 USAID. 
Honduras became host to the largest Peace Corps mission in the world, 
and non-governmental 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 collectively 
outpolled the National Party candidate, Rafael Leonardo Callejas, who 
received 42% of the vote. Jose Azcona Hoyo, the candidate receiving the 
most votes (27%) among the Liberals, assumed the presidency in January 
1986. With strong endorsement and support from the Honduran military, 
the Suazo Administration had 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 the Callejas Administration's economic reforms, growing public 
dissatisfaction with the rising cost of living and with seemingly 
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," 
has actively prosecuted corruption and pursued those responsible for 
human rights abuses in the 1980s. The public ministry has filed charges 
against Reina's first foreign minister--whom Reina fired--and against 
former members of the Callejas cabinet for corruption. In 1995-96, more 
than two dozen arrest warrants were issued against present and former 
armed forces personnel (military and civilian) accused in those abuses. 
By the end of 1996, one high-ranking, active-duty officer had turned 
himself in, and a retired lieutenant was arrested; both subsequently 
were released for lack of evidence. Like many Latin American nations, 
Honduras passed amnesty laws in the 1980s. To the disappointment of the 
military, the Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that military officers, unlike 
leftists, were not automatically covered by the amnesty laws but might 
be covered on a case-by-case-basis. As of the end of 1996 these cases 
remained unresolved.

A hallmark of the Reina Administration has been his successful efforts 
to increase civilian control over the armed forces, making his time in 
office a period of fundamental change in civil-military relations in 
Honduras. Important achievements--including the abolition of the 
military draft and passage of legislation transferring the national 
police from military to civilian authority--have brought civil-military 
relations closer to the kind of balance normal in a constitutional 
democracy. Additionally, President Reina in 1996 named his own defense 
minister, breaking the precedent of accepting the nominee of the armed 
forces leadership.


ECONOMY

Honduras is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin 
America. The economy is based mostly on agriculture, which accounted for 
24% of GDP in 1995. Coffee and bananas accounted for 51% of total 
Honduran export revenues in 1995. Honduras has extensive forest, marine 
and mineral resources, although widespread slash-and-burn agricultural 
methods continue to destroy Honduran forests. Hondurans, however, are 
becoming more concerned about protecting their environmental patrimony. 
Unemployment officially is estimated at 15%, and combined unemployment 
and underemployment is about 45%.

In 1995, the Honduran economy rebounded from the severe recession 
experienced in 1994. Real GDP growth in 1995 was 3.6%. It was led by a 
solid expansion in agricultural production spurred by soaring world 
coffee prices, excellent basic grains harvests, and a resurrected banana 
industry as well as a growing maquila (Free Trade Zone) sector that 
employed 65,000 people by year's end. Honduras also received abundant 
rainfall which replenished the nation's dams and enabled the country to 
generate adequate hydroelectric energy, thus avoiding the drought-
related power cuts which adversely affected economic performance in 
1994. The nation's balance of payments picture brightened in 1995, 
thanks to the 19.3% increase in export revenues. Nevertheless, Honduras 
ran a balance of payments deficit of $270 million in 1995. The Honduran 
economy had foreign debts totaling about $4.1 billion at the end of 
1995, almost all owed by the government. That caused a debt service to 
export earnings ratio of nearly 40%.

In 1996, Honduran GDP is expected to have grown about 4%. However, 
inflation for 1996 is expected to have reached 23%, a disappointment to 
GOH economic policymakers who hoped to bring that figure down to 16% for 
the year. High inflation in 1996, combined with a depreciating Lempira, 
has caused a sharp increase in the amount of U.S.-dollar denominated 
savings done by Hondurans in 1996. Official figures published late in 
1996 show that 30% of all Honduran savings were made in U.S. dollars 
during the period from September 1995 to September 1996.

Despite criticism from the private sector, the government attempted to 
maintain relatively tight monetary and fiscal policies throughout 1996 
and, consequently, has been able to keep the non-financial public sector 
deficit to 3.2% of GDP. The major challenge facing the Reina Government 
in 1997, an election year, will be to continue economic stabilization 
measures and thus provide the successor government with a stable economy 
when it takes office.


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 four-year term by popular vote. 
The congress also serves a four-year term; congressional seats are 
assigned the parties' candidates in proportion to the number of votes 
each party receives.

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 departmental and municipal officials elected for 
two-year terms.

National Security

Events during the 1980s in El Salvador and Nicaragua led Honduras, with 
U.S. assistance, to expand its armed forces considerably, 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 
have brought reduced funding for the Honduran armed forces. The 
abolition of the draft has created staffing gaps in the now all 
volunteer armed forces. The military now is far below its authorized 
12,000 strength (which does not include the 6,000 police), and further 
reductions are expected.


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 have declined.

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 two smaller registered parties, the Christian Democratic Party and 
the Innovation and Unity Party, remain marginal, slightly left-of-center 
groupings with few campaign resources and little organization. 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.

Honduras will hold its next general elections--which will choose the 
nation's next President, Congress, and mayors--in November 1997.

Principal Government Officials

President--Carlos Roberto REINA Idiaquez
Minister of Foreign Relations--Delmer URBIZO Panting
Ambassador to the U.S.--Roberto FLORES Bermudez
Ambassador to the UN--Gerardo MARTINEZ Blanco
Ambassador to the OAS--Madeleine VILLELA DE TALBOT

Honduras maintains an embassy in the United States at 3007 Tilden Street 
NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-966-7702).


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 non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

President Reina consults frequently with the other Central American 
presidents on issues of mutual interest. He has continued his 
predecessor's strong emphasis on Central American cooperation and 
integration, which under President Callejas resulted in an agreement 
easing border controls and tariffs among Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, 
and El Salvador. Honduras also joined its six Central American neighbors 
at the 1994 Summit of the Americas in signing the Alliance for 
Sustainable Development, known as the Conjunta Centroamerica-USA, or 
CONCAUSA, to promote sustainable economic development in the region.

In 1969, El Salvador and Honduras fought the brief "Soccer War" over 
disputed border areas and friction resulting from the 300,000 
Salvadorans who had emigrated to Honduras in search of land and 
employment. The catalyst was nationalistic feelings aroused by a series 
of soccer matches between the two countries. The two countries formally 
signed a peace treaty on October 30, 1980, which put the border dispute 
before the International Court of Justice. In September 1992, the court 
awarded most of the disputed territory to Honduras. A Honduran-
Salvadoran binational commission is addressing issues such as 
citizenship and physical demarcation of the border resulting from the 
ICJ decision. El Salvador and Honduras maintain normal diplomatic and 
trade relations. 

At the 17th Central American summit in 1995, hosted by Honduras in the 
northern city of San Pedro Sula, the region's six countries (excluding 
Belize) signed treaties creating confidence and security-building 
measures and combating the smuggling of stolen automobiles in the 
isthmus. In subsequent summits (held every six months), Honduras has 
continued to work with the other Central American countries on issues of 
common concern.


TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION 

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are 
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel 
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all 
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency 
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and 
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in 
the country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate 
information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-
term conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of 
American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by 
calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-
on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information 
Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page: 
http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). 
To access CABB, dial the modem number: (301-946-4400 (it will 
accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal communications program to N-
8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. 
The login is travel and the password is info (Note: Lower case is 
required). The CABB also carries international security information from 
the Overseas Security Advisory Council and Department's Bureau of 
Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs Trips for Travelers publication 
series, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a 
safe trip abroad, can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, 
U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-
7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250. 

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-
4000. 

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 7-
day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m. 
to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-
225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate 
of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648) 
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization 
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water 
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information 
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is 
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 
20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal 
Government Officials" listing in this publication). 

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous 
areas, are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a 
country (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this 
publication). This may help family members contact you in case of an 
emergency. 

Further Electronic Information: 

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, 
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, 
the official weekly magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press 
briefings; directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc. 
DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at http://www.state.gov; this site has a 
link to the DOSFAN Gopher Research Collection, which also is accessible 
at gopher://gopher.state.gov.

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on a quarterly basis 
by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the 
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of 
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Priced at 
$76 ($95 foreign), one-year subscriptions (MSDOS and Macintosh 
compatible) are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. 
Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. 
To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250. 

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information, 
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet 
(www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information. 

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