U.S. Department of State 
Background Notes: Honduras, March 1998 
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.


OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Honduras


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 112,100 sq. km. (43,270 sq. mi.); about the size of Louisiana. 
Cities: Capital--Tegucigalpa (850,000); San Pedro Sula (500,000); 
metropolitan area of each city approximately 1 million. 
Terrain: Mountainous.
Climate: Tropical to subtropical, depending on elevation.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Honduran(s).
Population (1998 est.): 5.8 million.
Growth rate: 2.8%.
Ethnic groups: 90% mestizo (mixed Indian and European); others of 
European, Arab, African, or Asian ancestry; and indigenous Indians.
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant minority.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--70% overall, but less than 
16% at junior high level. Literacy--78.5%. 
Health: Infant mortality rate--42/1,000. Life expectancy--68 yrs.
Work force: Services--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, Christian Democratic Party, and the Democratic Unification Party.
Suffrage: Universal adult.
Administrative subdivisions: 18 departments.

Economy (1997 preliminary data)

GDP: $4.68 billion.
Growth rate: 4.9%.
Per capita GDP: $806.
Natural resources: Arable land, forests, minerals, fisheries. 
Agriculture (24% of GDP): Products--coffee, bananas, shrimp and lobster, 
sugar, fruits, basic grains, livestock.
Industry (18% of GDP): Types--textiles and apparel, cement, wood 
products, cigars, foodstuffs.
Trade: Exports--$2.2 billion: coffee, bananas, shrimp, citrus fruits, 
textile products, lead/zinc concentrates, beef, lumber, sugar. Major 
market--U.S.(53%). Imports--$2.6 billion: petroleum, manufactured goods, 
machinery, chemicals. Major supplier--U.S. (43%).
Exchange rate (March 1998): 13.28 lempiras=U.S.$1.

U.S. POLICY TOWARD HONDURAS

U.S. policy toward Honduras is aimed at consolidating stable democracy 
with a justice system that protects human rights and is fair and 
effective. We promote 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. The U.S. works with 
Honduras to meet transnational challenges, including the fight against 
narcotrafficking. We encourage and support Honduran efforts to protect 
the environment. The goals of strengthening democracy and promoting 
viable economic growth are especially important given the geographical 
proximity of Honduras to the United States. 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 $24.3 million for development assistance 
and $4.7 million for foodstuffs in 1997. 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 $29 million 
in aid, more than $16 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 1997, there were 200 Peace Corps volunteers 
working in the poorest parts of Honduras.

The government of President Flores is committed to the full 
implementation of a civilian police force, 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 role of the Honduran armed forces has changed significantly in 
recent years as many institutions formerly controlled by the military 
have been taken over by civilians. The defense and police budgets have 
hovered at around $30 million during the past few years. The abolition 
of conscription resulted in a decrease in the size of the armed forces. 
The volunteer system has helped to increase troop strength somewhat but 
many military units are still significantly below authorized strength 
levels. Formal security assistance has declined from over $500 million 
provided between 1982 and 1993 to $500,000 annually in International 
Military Education and Training (IMET) courses. Some residual credits 
are still available from previous military aid, but will be exhausted 
within the next few years.

In the absence of a large security assistance program, defense 
cooperation has taken the form of increased participation by the 
Honduran armed forces in military-to-military contact programs and 
bilateral and multilateral combined exercises oriented toward 
peacekeeping, disaster relief, humanitarian/civic assistance, and 
counternarcotics. The U.S. Joint Task Force stationed at the Honduran 
Soto Cano Air Base plays a vital role in supporting combined exercises 
in Honduras and in neighboring Central American countries. JTF-Bravo has 
been involved in several multilateral exercises and numerous smaller 
humanitarian deployments, 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 
$2.29 billion in 1997. American business exported $1.1 billion worth of 
goods and services to Honduras in 1997.

U.S. investors account for nearly three-quarters of the estimated $900 
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, maquiladoras (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 and the United States have close and friendly relations. In 
Costa Rica in May 1997, former Honduran President Reina met with 
President Clinton, his Central American counterparts, and the president 
of the Dominican Republic to celebrate the remarkable democratic 
transformation in the region and reaffirm support for strengthening 
democracy, good governance, and promoting prosperity through economic 
integration, free trade, and investment. The leaders also expressed 
their commitment to the continued development of just and equitable 
societies and responsible environmental policies as an integral element 
of sustainable development.

Honduras is supportive of U.S. policy in the UN and other fora. In 1996, 
Honduras' overall voting coincidence with the United States in the 
United Nations was 44.3%, and in 1997 it was 40.3%. 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. The U.S. 
also 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 Leninist 
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 $29 million in 1997--due to 
worldwide reductions in U.S. bilateral assistance.

The United States is Honduras' chief trading partner, supplying 43% of 
its imports and purchasing 53% of its exports. Leading Honduran exports 
to the United States include coffee, bananas, textile products, 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 75% of total direct foreign investment in Honduras; this is worth 
about $675 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, apparel, shrimp culture, beef, poultry and animal-feed 
production, insurance, leasing, food processing, brewing, and furniture 
manufacturing. U.S. apparel facilities or maquilas are responsible for 
the majority of the approximately 100,000 jobs in that sector of 
Honduran businesses.

The U.S. maintains a small presence at a Honduran military base; the two 
countries conduct joint counternarcotics, humanitarian, and civic action 
exercises. U.S. troops conduct and provide logistics support for a 
variety of exercises (medical, engineering, peacekeeping, 
counternarcotics, and disaster relief) for the benefit of the Honduran 
people and their Central American neighbors. U.S. forces--regular, 
reserve, and national guard--benefit greatly from the training and 
exercises. 

U.S. troops--in collaboration with counterparts from Brazil and 
Colombia--since 1994 have assisted Honduran soldiers in clearing land 
mines from the country's border with Nicaragua. As of early 1998, 
approximately 180,000 square meters had been cleared of mines and 
approximately 2,000 mines had been destroyed. 

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

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

The U.S. Embassy in Honduras is located on Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa 
(tel.: 011-504-236-9320; faxes: general--011-504-236-9037, USAID--011-
504-236-7776, USIS--011-504-236-9309, Military Group--011-504-233-6171, 
Commercial Section--011-504-238-2888, Consulate--011-504-237-1792). 

OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION:

Honduran-American Chamber of Commerce
Hotel Honduras Maya
Apartado Postal 1838
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Tel: (504) 232-7043/232-6035
Fax: (504) 232-9959
E-mail: hamcham@netsys.hn
(Branch office in San Pedro Sula)

Caribbean/Latin American Action
1818 N Street, NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC 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, NW
Washington, DC 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 flourished there for hundreds of years until 
the early 9th century. Mayan artifacts also can be found at the National 
Museum in Tegucigalpa. Columbus landed at mainland Honduras (Trujillo) 
in 1502. He named 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 in this century 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.

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," 
actively prosecuted corruption and pursued those responsible for human 
rights abuses in the 1980s. He created a modern attorney general's 
office and an investigative police force, and reduced Honduras' historic 
and endemic corruption and elite impunity. As a result, a notable start 
has been made in institutionalizing the rule of law in Honduras.

A hallmark of the Reina Administration was 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.

Reina restored national fiscal health. After a rough start in 1994-95, 
the Reina Administration substantially increased Central Bank net 
international reserves, reduced inflation to 12.8% a year, restored a 
healthy pace of economic growth (about 5% in 1997), and, perhaps most 
important, held down spending to achieve a 1.1% non-financial public 
sector deficit in 1997.

Carlos Roberto Flores Facusse took office on January 27, 1998, as 
Honduras' fifth democratically elected President since free elections 
were restored in 1981. Like three of his four predecessors, including 
his immediate predecessor, Flores is a member of the Liberal Party. He 
was elected with a 10% margin over his main opponent, National Party 
nominee, Nora de Melgar, in free, fair, and peaceful elections on 
November 30, 1997. These elections, probably the cleanest in Honduran 
history, reflected the maturing of Honduras' democratic institutions. On 
the eve of his electoral victory, Flores presented a platform that is a 
blueprint for reform and modernization of the Honduran Government and 
economy, with emphasis on helping Honduras' poorest citizens while 
maintaining the country's fiscal health and improving international 
competitiveness.

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 1997. Coffee and bananas accounted for 37% of total 
Honduran export revenues in 1997. 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 is estimated at 15%, and combined unemployment and 
underemployment is about 40%.

Preliminary data show that the Honduran economy grew 4.9% in 1997, led 
by strong growth in the manufacturing, financial services, utilities, 
and mining sectors. The Honduran Government cut the inflation rate 
nearly in half in 1997, bringing it from 25.3% in 1996 down to 12.8%. 
The nation's balance of payments continued to strengthen in 1997, with 
gross international reserves approaching $500 million at the end of the 
year, equivalent to more than three months' imports. The government's 
non-financial public sector deficit was brought down to 1.1% of GDP, a 
significant improvement over the corresponding figure for 1996. A 
particularly bright spot in the Honduran economy in 1997 was the 
performance of the large and growing maquiladora sector. Maquiladoras 
provided employment to almost 100,000 Honduran workers in 1997 and 
generated more than $300 million in value added.

The economic outlook for Honduras in 1998 is positive. Government 
authorities expect real growth to exceed 5%, inflation to be no higher 
than the 12.8% recorded in 1997, and the government deficit to be in 
line with the figures recorded last year. The Honduran Government will 
be meeting in 1998 with the International Monetary Fund in an effort to 
agree on an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility, which could lead to 
foreign bilateral debt forgiveness in the Paris Club. Honduran public 
foreign debt is approximately $3.8 billion, and the service of that debt 
consumes more than 30% of government revenues.

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 selected 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 
strength 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.

Honduras held its fifth consecutive democratic elections in November 
1997, to elect a new president, unicameral Congress and mayors; for the 
first time, voters were able to cast separate ballots for each office. 

Political Parties

The two major parties--the Liberal Party and the National Party--run 
active campaigns throughout the country. Their ideologies are mostly 
centrist, with diverse factions in each centered on personalities.

The three smaller registered parties, the Christian Democratic Party, 
the Innovation and Unity Party, and the Democratic Unification 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 2001.

Principal Government Officials

President--Carlos Roberto FLORES Facusse
Minister of Foreign Relations--J. Fernando MARTINEZ Jimenez
Ambassador Designate to the U.S.--Edgardo DUMAS Rodriguez
Ambassador to the UN--Hugo NOE Pino
Ambassador to the OAS--Dr. Laura NUNEZ Flores

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 Flores 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 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. In January 1998, 
Honduras and El Salvador signed a border demarcation treaty that will 
implement the terms of the ICJ decree. The treaty awaits legal 
ratification in both countries. Honduras and El Salvador maintain normal 
diplomatic and trade relations. 

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:  
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). 
Registering with the embassy may help you to replace lost identity 
documents or 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 magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; 
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign 
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at 
http://www.state.gov.

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an annual 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. Contact 
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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