ABOUT HONDURAS, FACTS AND FIGURES
||Honduras is approximately 1000 miles southwest of Miami and has a mainly
mountainous area of 48,200 square miles. To the North it has a large coastal
line with the Caribbean sea and to the South it enjoys a small access to
Honduras lies at what was the southern tip of the Mayan
civilization that spread southwards from the Yucatán peninsula through
modern Guatemala to the city of Copán, now in north-west Honduras.
The Mayan civilization collapsed long before the arrival of Christopher
Columbus, who visited Trujillo in north-east Honduras in 1502 on his third
voyage to the new world. The country was colonized by Spain after some
resistance by the Lenca peoples of the central highlands. Their chief,
Lempira, who was murdered by the Spaniards, became a national symbol after
On independence in 1821 Honduras joined the Central American Federation,
and the Honduran general, Francisco Morazán, became its first president.
He also entered the phatheon of national heroes after he was killed in
the break-up of the federation in 1839. Honduras' liberal revolution took
place in the 1870s under the presidency of Marco Aurelio Soto.
In 1899 the first banana concession was granted to the Vacarro brothers;
their company would later become Standard Fruit. In 1907 Sam Zemurray set
up the Cuyamel Fruit Company; later bought by United Fruit. The unequal
relationship that would exist between the companies and the Honduran state
for the first half of the 20th century gave rise to the description "banana
republic." Between 1932 and 1948 Honduras was ruled by a dictator, Tiburcio
After the fall of Carias, Honduras began an uneven process of political
and economic modernization. In 1954, Honduras signed a military treaty
with the US government, which was concerned for its strategic interests
in the region following the rise of the Arbenz government in Guatemala.
In 1957 a Liberal president, Ramón Villeda Morales, was elected.
His administration promoted the first agrarian reform and saw the beginning
of social welfare legislation. He also took Honduras into the Central American
Common Market, the Mercado Común Centroaméricano (MCCA),
which was founded in 1960.
President Villeda was ousted from power by a military coup in 1963
and General Oswaldo López Arellano became president. General López
Arellano tried to resolve growing land conflicts in the West at the cost
of Salvadorian immigrants, and as a result, Honduras fought a brief war
with El Salvador in 1967 that went into the history books as the "soccer
war" since it was triggered by abusive treatment of the Honduran team during
a World Cup qualifying game in San Salvador.
In his second presidency, from 1972 to 1975, General López Arellano
supervised the most radical phase of the agrarian reform, which took the
form of a colonization movement in the Aguán valley, during which
rangers were cleared from the valley to make way for peasant cooperatives
dedicated to bananas and African palm. A state forestry corporation, Corporación
Hondureia de Desarrollo Forestal (Cohdefor), was established, marking the
start of a period of military government that also saw the foundation of
the Corporatión Nacional de Inversiones (Conadi). These initiatives
led to a rapid increase in external debt, to US$1.5bn by the end of the
The 1980s was a period of political and economic crisis in Honduras.
The world recession of 1979 and the debt crisis of 1982 revealed the flaw
in a development strategy that relied on foreign borrowing to pay for public
The first half of the 1980s were dominated by the Contra war in Nicaragua.
The Honduran army turned a blind eye to the Contras' presence in southern
Honduras, and in return the liberal government of Roberto Suazo Córdova
(1982-1986) received economic and military aid from the USA. This was a
period of internal repression by the armed forces under the command of
General Gustavo Alvarez Martínez, during which approximately 170
left-wing activists "disappeared." However, the focus of US policy gradually
shifted towards supporting democratic governments in Central America. This
helped to consolidate democratic rule in Honduras and put an end to the
long tradition of military coups.
In the late 1980s, during the government of the Liberal president José
Simón Azcona, as the Contra war waned, the US government pressed
with increasing insistence for economic policy reforms on the lines of
structural adjustment packages advocated by the World Bank.
The election of the Partido Nacional candidate, Rafael Leonardo Callejas,
in 1989 set a seal on these developments, bringing to power a modernizing
civilian president committed to the Structural Adjustment Program and keen
to see a continued shift in the balance of power away from the military
establishment toward the civilian administration.
THE HONDURAN PEOPLE
Over two thousand years of history are richly displayed
in Honduras' numerous Mayan archaeological sites and vestiges of early
Spanish colonialism. As a result of this diverse history, the Honduran
people are an ethnic mix of native Indian, Spanish and other nationalities.
Honduras has enjoyed long lasting cultural, economic and political ties
with the United States. Visitors and foreign residents in Honduras are
often pleasantly surprised by the welcoming attitude of Hondurans. Foreign
residents live securely, and in pleasant surroundings, in all regions of
Honduras has a population of over five million. It is growing
at an average annual rate of 3%. The urban population is increasing at
a much higher rate. About 700,000 people live in the capital city of Tegucigalpa
and 350,000 live in San Pedro Sula, the largest industrial city.
The official language is Spanish. English is widely used
as a second language.
Today Honduras has a stable democratic government that is
committed to private enterprise. In January 1994 president Carlos Roberto
Reina of the Partido Liberal started his four year term. He replaced president
Rafael Leonardo Callejas of the Partido Nacional. The president is elected
for a single term as the head of state and the head of government. He appoints
the governors of the eighteen departments of Honduras. There are three
vice-presidents, who bear the title designado presindencial. The
legislature is the National Assembly, with one member and a substitute
elected for every 35,000 voters. There is a single national election on
the bases of universal adult suffrage for the president and the legislature.
Seats in the legislature are allocated to each party according to its vote
in each region. This tends to make for domination of the political system
by the president, which enforces party loyalty. Honduras has a US-style
legal system with a Supreme Court at its apex.
Two parties, the Partido Liberal (PL) and the Partido Nacional (PN),
have dominated electoral politics throughout the 20th century. The PL's
origins lie in the anti-clerical reform movement of the 1880s. The party
has a strong rural base linked to conservative land owners and to small
peasants. It also has an important urban base, which tends to be more radical
in Tegucigalpa and more business based in San Pedro Sula. The PN originated
in a split in the PL and emerged as a coherent group in the 1920s. Its
strongholds tend to be in rural areas and the backward departments of the
west and south. By tradition politically more conservative then the Liberals,
the PN has rarely won elections. When the party came under the leadership
of Rafael Leonardo Callejas, a young technocrat who managed to reorganize
it as a potent electoral force and to establish support for a radical Structural
Adjustment Program among its leading factions. At the same time, he shored
up private business support for the party, and it is now much better organized
and financed than its rivals.
There are two other legally established political parties, the Partido
Demócrata Cristiana de Honduras and the Partido de Innovación
y Unidad (PINU). Each of them is left of center and neither is a serious
CURRENCY AND BANKING
The Honduran currency is the lempira. Having been set at Lps2 : US$1
since 1919, the lempira was effectively devalued in the March 1990 economic
package of the Callejas government. Almost all transactions were shifted
to an inter bank rate of Lps4 : US$1. Further adjustment took the rate
to Lps5.3 : US$1 by the end of 1990. A new law requiring exporters to repatriate
their foreign exchange earnings; and renewed flows of balance-of-payments
support from the IMF, World Bank, IDB and USAID stabilized the rate. In
1992 congress approved a law allowing the establishment of casa de
gambio (exchange houses), which institutionalized the free-market
rate for the first time. In mid 1992 the exchange rate was fully liberalized
and by year end it had depreciated to Lps5.9 : US$1, a level that held
stable into early 1993. In January 1994 the rate was Lps7.3 : US$1 and
in January 1996 it jumped to 10.1 : US$1. In January of 1997 it was 13
There are about 20 private banks in Honduras, including two foreign
banks: Citibank, whose local subsidiary is the Banco de Honduras, and Lloyds
Bank. Apart from the Central Bank, the main state banks include the agricultural
development bank, Banco Agricola de Desarrollo (Banadesa) and a municipal
development bank. The Central Bank plans to rely increasingly on open market
operations to regulate credit conditions.
ENTRY FORMALITIES AND RESIDENCE
There is no tourist visa required. Working and resident
visas are easily arranged.
Accredited bi-lingual schools from kindergarten through
high school provide a quality education to children of US residents. Graduates
are regularly accepted in US Ivy League colleges.
||Foreign Investors, managers, and technical staff living in, or temporarily
visiting Honduras, will find living conditions comfortable, and a wide
variety of pleasurable activities easily available. Spacious housing of
brick and masonry construction, usually with atriums or inner patios, in
well cared for residential areas, is the norm. Apartment complexes offer
fully equipped one to three bedroom apartments, to those who prefer a more
central location. Domestic help is plentiful at a modest cost. International
standard hotels and apart-hotels offer single rooms and small suites to
those who make short visits.
Shopping malls and supermarkets are conveniently located,
with ample parking space. They carry products similar to those sold in
the US. A wide selection of restaurants offers continental and Asiatic
cuisine as well as local specialties. Modern movie houses feature first
run films about the same time they are shown in the US. Cable TV is available
in the principal cities, with more then twenty English language channels.
Satellite TV distributors will install and service individual home units
at a reasonable cost.
|From sight seeing to scuba diving, Honduras has a range of attractions
within a short distance of all major Honduran cities. Country clubs have
swimming pools, tennis courts and golf courses. Lake Yojoa, an uncrowded
volcanic lake with world class bass fishing, is only a few miles from the
main Tegucigalpa-San Pedro Sula highway. The National Energy Company arranges
visits to an other beautiful lake, created when the El Cajón hydroelectric
project was build.
Mayan archaeological sites are scattered throughout the country. The
most renowned is Copán, a two hour drive from San Pedro Sula. This
uniquely preserved site, in a sylvan setting, presets not only the Mayan
monuments and stele, but also the living areas and life style of the ancient
Caribbean beaches are an hour's drive from San Pedro Sula and the Bay
Islands are only a twenty minute flight. These verdant Caribbean islands
are noted for their barrier reef, second in length only to Australia's.
Well-equipped resorts such as Anthony Keys provide excellent scuba diving
Adequate health care facilities are provided by over twenty-five
hospitals and clinics. If necessary, specialized US care in Miami, New
Orleans or Houston, is only two hours flight time from Honduras. Dental
clinics with up to date equipment are numerous. Many Honduran physicians
and dentists received training in the US and Europe.
ABOUT GUANAJA, FACT AND FIGURES
FACTS ABOUT GUANAJA:
ELECTRICTRICITY: FROM AIRPORT TO BONOCCA TOWN,SANDY BAY
TO SAVANNAH BIGHT AND EAST END LODGE. SOME PROPERTIES HAVE INSTALLED WINDMILLS
OR GENERATORS ON THE NORTH SIDE AND ON THE PRIVATE CAYS.
WATER: FRESH WATER YEAR ROUND FROM STREAMS, SPRINGS AND
WELLS. ROOF CATCHMENT INTO CISTERNS IS RECOMMENDED.
DOCK BUILDING-A PERMIT MUST BE OBTAIN FROM THE MUNICIPALIDAD.
CAPTAIN AL, AT THE AIRPORT SUPPLIES MATERIALS AND A BARGE AND MAY BE CONTRACTED.
BUILDING COSTS; SIMILAR TO THE U.S. APROX. $20 PER FOOT
MATERIALS: PURCHASE AND SHIP FROM MAINLAND HONDURAS. ALSO,
ONE TIME ONLY, NEW OWNERS MAY SHIP FROM U.S. DUTY FREE.
LABOR: APROX. $ 10.00 PER DAY.
AIRPORT- PAVED AIRSTRIP, DAYLIGHT ONLY.
TRAVEL: CONTINENTAL FROM HOUSTON TO ROATAN OR SAN PEDRO
AMERICAN TO SAN PEDRO SULA
TACA TO LA CEIBA
ISLENA IN COUNTRY TO GUANAJA FROM LA CEIBA. MONDAY TO
SATURDAY AT 12.30 AND
4.00 P.M. NO SUNDAY FLIGHTS.
SOSA AIRLINES ROATAN TO GUANAJA MONDAY TO SATURDAY AT
9.30 AM . NO SUNDAY FLIGHT.
ROADS; THERE ARE NO ROADS ON GUANAJA ALL TRAVEL IS BY
BOAT. PROPERTY OWNERS NEED A LAUNCH FOR PRIVATE TRAVEL. WORK BOATS MAY
BE HIRED WITH CREW FOR LARGE SHIPMENTS. SHIPPING FROM U.S.; DIRECT FROM
TAMPA/MIAMI TO GUANAJA: CARIBBEAN STAR, ISLAND SHIPPING AND TRADING-DEEP
REEF TRADING RUNS APROX. EVERY SIX WEEKS. U.S. PHONE
IN COUNTRY SHIPPING: FROM LA CEIBA WEEKLY, DANY BOY, LADY
CARMINDA AND LADY MICHELLE. ALL WILL TAKE BUTANE TANKS TO BE REFILLED.
CURRENCY: LEMPIRA CONSTANTLY CHANGING. CURRENTLY
13.2899 TO $ 1.00 U.S. GASOLINE; L. 31.50 PER GALLON
TELEPHONE: WAITING LISTS FOR HONDUTEL, NEW LINES EXPECTED.
SATELLITE PHONES AVAILABLE.
TAX RECORDS MAY BE CHEKED AT MUNICIPALIDAD OF GUANAJA.
PROPERTY TITLES ARE REGISTERED IN ROATAN.
LAWYERS MAY BE HIRED FOR TITLE OR LEGAL WORK OR REDIDENCY
STATUS. SEVERAL SPEAK ENGLISH AND ARE VERY HELPFUL.