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LAND & PEOPLE
- 90% Mestizo (mixed Native and European)
- 2% Afro-descendant
- 7% Indigenous
- 1% White
- Bordering Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua
- 43,278 sq. mi
- Mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
COLONIZATION, EARLY HISTORY, INDPENDENCE
1525: Spain begins the conquest of Honduras
1821: On September 15, Honduras gains independence from Spain after three centuries as a Spanish colony. It becomes a part of Mexico.
1840: Honduras becomes an independent nation.
- During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United Fruit Company from the United States become economically involved in Honduras. The company controlled 2/3 of its banana exports by 1913.
- In the 1980s, the US built airstrips and made Honduras the center of its support for repressive militaries in Guatemala and El Salvador
- Also in Honduras in the 1980s, the US organized, trained, housed and funded a counterrevolutionary force (the “contras”) to bring down the left-wing Sandinista government in Nicaragua
- In 2009, democratically elected president Jose Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup organized by military graduates of the US School of the Americas
- In recent years, the US has increased funding and training to police, military and a joint police-military task force that is waging terror on peasants defending their land rights and squelching public protest against abuses of the current government
A reign of violence has overwhelmed Honduras since the June 2009 coup d’etat that ousted the democratically-elected president. A broad coalition of sectors from across civil society quickly united to organize against the oligarchy that was now controlling the country. The FNRP (National Front of Popular Resistance) also formed a political party (LIBRE) in 2011. Since June 2009, hundreds of people active with the FNRP and LIBRE have been the victims of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial assassinations.
Democratic constitutional republic
Chief of State: President Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ Alvarado (since 27 January 2014); Vice Presidents Ricardo ALVAREZ, Rossana GUEVARA, and Lorena HERRERA (since 27 January 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
Elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a single 4-year term; election last held on 24 November 2013 (next to be held in November 2017)
Election results: Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ Alvarado elected president; percent of vote - Juan Orlando HERNANDEZ Alvarado (PNH) 36.9%, Xiomara CASTRO (LIBRE) 28.8%, Mauricio VILLEDA (PL) 20.3%, Salvador NASRALLA (PAC) 13.4%, other 0.6%
Unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
Elections: last held on 24 November 2013 (next to be held in November 2017)
Election results: percent of vote by party - PNH 33.6%, LIBRE 27.5%, PL 17.0%, PAC 15.2%, PINU 1.9%, UD 1.7%, DC 1.6%, other 1.5%; seats by party - PNH 48, LIBRE 37, PL 27, PAC 13, PINU 1, UD 1, DC 1
Highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (15 principal judges - including the court president - and 7 alternates; court organized into civil, criminal, and labor chambers); note - the court has both judicial and constitutional jurisdiction
Judge selection and term of office: court president elected by his peers; judges elected by the National Congress from candidates proposed by the Nominating Board, a diverse 7-member group of judicial officials, other government and non-government officials selected by each of their organizations; judges elected by Congress for renewable, 7-year terms
Subordinate courts: courts of appeal; courts of first instance; peace courts
18 departments: Atlantida, Choluteca, Colon, Comayagua, Copan, Cortes, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Gracias a Dios, Intibuca, Islas de la Bahia, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Valle, Yoro
Gross Domestic Product (GDP):
- $39.22 billion (2014 estimated)
Composition of GDP:
- Agriculture: 14%
- Industry: 26.3%
- Services: 59.7% (2014 est.)
Exports: coffee, apparel, coffee, shrimp, automobile wire harnesses, cigars, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
- US 35.2%
- Germany 8.4%
- El Salvador 8%
- Guatemala 6.3%
- Nicaragua 5.9%
- Mexico 4.4% (2014)
Imports: communications equipment, machinery and transport, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
Import partners (2014):
- US 43.3%
- Guatemala 9.4%
- China 7.6%
- Mexico 5.6%
- El Salvador 5.1%
Assassination of social movement* leaders is common. Because the homicide rate is so high (it fluctuates between first and second place in the world) these extrajudicial assassinations are often masked as common street crimes. Civil institutions should be strengthened and the Honduran government should be pressured to investigate assassinations of social movement leaders. The police and judiciary should be trained, strengthened and supported to investigate these crimes so that human rights violators are not able to escape with impunity.
*Social movement leaders routinely targeted are human rights defenders (including lawyers), journalists (reporting on the activities of social movements), LGBT rights advocates, peasant/land rights leaders, opposition party (i.e., LIBRE) candidates and activists, communities resisting take-overs of the land for projects such as hydroelectric dams and large-scale agriculture and mining.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?
Pro-democracy people’s movement resisting authoritarian regime
Justice for victims of state-sponsored violence
WHO IS TARGETED?
Indigenous people, Lenca, Garifuna
Human rights defenders
LGBTQ rights defenders
HOW ARE THEY TARGETED?*