The World Factbook (1990)/Honduras

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency

pages 135–136


World Factbook (1990) Honduras.jpg

 See regional map III


Total area: 112,090 km²; land area: 111,890 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries: 1,520 km total; Guatemala 256 km, El Salvador 342 km, Nicaragua 922 km

Coastline: 820 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: several sections of the boundary with El Salvador are in dispute

Climate: subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains

Terrain: mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains

Natural resources: timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish

Land use: 14% arable land; 2% permanent crops; 30% meadows and pastures; 34% forest and woodland; 20% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: subject to frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes; damaging hurricanes along Caribbean coast; deforestation; soil erosion


Population: 5,259,699 (July 1990), growth rate 3.0% (1990)

Birth rate: 37 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 62 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 64 years male, 67 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 4.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Honduran(s); adjective—Honduran

Ethnic divisions: 90% mestizo (mixed Indian and European), 7% Indian, 2% black, 1% white

Religion: about 97% Roman Catholic; small Protestant minority

Language: Spanish, Indian dialects

Literacy: 56%

Labor force: 1,300,000; 62% agriculture, 20% services, 9% manufacturing, 3% construction, 6% other (1985)

Organized labor: 40% of urban labor force, 20% of rural work force (1985)


Long-form name: Republic of Honduras

Type: republic

Capital: Tegucigalpa

Administrative divisions: 18 departments (départamentos, singular—départamento); Atlántida, Choluteca, Colón, Comayagua, Copán, Cortés, El Paraíso, Francisco Morazán, Gracias a Dios, Intibucá, Islas de la Bahía, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Bárbara, Valle, Yoro

Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)

Constitution: 11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982

Legal system: rooted in Roman and Spanish civil law; some influence of English common law; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

Executive branch: president, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justica)

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—Rafael Leonardo CALLEJAS Romero (since 26 January 1990)

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Party (PLH)—faction leaders, Carlos Flores Facusse (leader of Florista Liberal Movement), Carlos Montoya (Azconista subfaction), Ramon Villeda Bermudez and Jorge Arturo Reina (M-Lider faction); National Party (PNH), Ricardo Maduro, party president; PNH faction leaders—Oswaldo Ramos Soto and Rafael Leonardo Callejas (Monarca faction); National Innovation and Unity Party-Social Democrats (PINU-SD), Enrique Aguilar Cerrato Paz; Christian Democratic Party (PDCH), Jorge Illescas; Democratic Action (AD), Walter Lopez Reyes

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Elections: President—last held on 26 November 1989 (next to be held November 1993); results—Leonardo Rafael Callejas (PNH) 51%, Jose Azcona Hoyo (PLH) 43.3%, others 5.7%;

National Congress—last held on 24 November 1985 (next to be held November 1993); results—PLH 51%, PNH 45%, PDCH 1.9%, PINU 1.5%, others 0.65%; seats—(134 total) PLH 62, PNH 71, PINU 1

Communists: up to 1,500; Honduran leftist groups Communist Party of Honduras (PCH), Party for the Transformation of Honduras (PTH), Morazanist Front for the Liberation of Honduras (FMLH), People's Revolutionary Union/Popular Liberation Movement (URP/MPL), Popular Revolutionary Forces-Lorenzo Zelaya (FPR/LZ), Socialist Party of Honduras Central American Workers Revolutionary Party (PASO/PRTC)

Other political or pressure groups: National Association of Honduran Campesinos (ANACH), Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP), Confederation of Honduran Workers (CTH), National Union of Campesinos (UNC), General Workers Confederation (CGT), United Federation of Honduran Workers (FUTH), Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH), Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations (CCOP)


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Jorge Ramon HERNANDEZ Alcerro; Chancery at Suite 100, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 966-7700 through 7702; there are Honduran Consulates General in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco, and Consulates in Baton Rouge, Boston, Detroit, Houston, and Jacksonville; US—Ambassador Crescencio ARCOS; Embassy at Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa (mailing address is APO Miami 34022); telephone [504] 32-3120

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with five blue five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band; the stars represent the members of the former Federal Republic of Central America—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; similar to the flag of El Salvador which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Nicaragua which features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom, centered in the white band


Overview: Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, accounting for nearly 30% of GDP, employing 62% of the labor force, and producing two-thirds of exports. Productivity remains low, however, leaving considerable room for improvement. Although industry is still in its early stages, it employs nearly 15% of the labor force, accounts for 23% of GDP, and generates 20% of exports. The service sectors, including public administration, account for 48% of GDP and employ nearly 20% of the labor force. Basic problems facing the economy include a high population growth rate, a high unemployment rate, a lack of basic services, a large and inefficient public sector, and an export sector dependent mostly on coffee and bananas, which are subject to sharp price fluctuations.

GDP: $4.4 billion, per capita $890; real growth rate 4.0% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 11% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 12% unemployed, 30-40% underemployed (1988)

Budget: revenues $1,053 million; expenditures $949 million, including capital expenditures of $159 million (1989)

Exports: $1.0 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—bananas, coffee, shrimp, lobster, minerals, lumber; partners—US 52%, FRG 11%, Japan, Italy, Belgium

Imports: $1.4 billion (c.i.f. 1988); commodities—machinery and transport equipment, chemical products, manufactured goods, fuel and oil, foodstuffs; partners—US 39%, Japan 9%, CACM, Venezuela, Mexico

External debt: $3.2 billion (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 5% (1988)

Electricity: 655,000 kW capacity; 1,980 million kWh produced, 390 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: agricultural processing (sugar and coffee), textiles, clothing, wood products

Agriculture: most important sector, accounting for nearly 30% of GDP, over 60% of the labor force, and two-thirds of exports; principal products include bananas, coffee, timber, beef, citrus fruit, shrimp; importer of wheat

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis, cultivated on small plots and used principally for local consumption; transshipment point for cocaine

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $1.3 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $776 million

Currency: lempira (plural—lempiras); 1 lempira (L) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: lempiras (L) per US$1—2.00 (fixed rate); 3.50 parallel exchange and black-market rate (October 1989)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 785 km total; 508 km 1.067-meter gauge, 277 km 0.914-meter gauge

Highways: 8,950 km total; 1,700 km paved, 5,000 km otherwise improved, 2,250 km unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 465 km navigable by small craft

Ports: Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo

Merchant marine: 149 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 438,495 GRT/660,990 DWT; includes 2 passenger-cargo, 87 cargo, 12 refrigerated cargo, 9 container, 1 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 17 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 2 liquefied gas, 1 specialized tanker, 1 vehicle carrier, 17 bulk; note—a flag of convenience registry

Civil air: 9 major transport aircraft

Airports: 180 total, 140 usable; 8 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 4 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 12 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: improved, but still inadequate; connection into Central American Microwave System; 35,100 telephones; stations—176 AM, no FM, 28 TV, 7 shortwave; 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations

Defense Forces

Branches: Armed Forces, Naval Forces, Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,222,858; 727,851 fit for military service; 61,493 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 1.9% of GDP, or $82.5 million (1990 est.)