Honduras. According to Countryaah official site, the events of June 2009, when Manuel Zelaya was dismissed from the presidential post by a military coup, continued to cast his shadow over Honduras during the year. President Porfírio Lobo Sosa devoted much effort to improving the country’s international reputation. On May 28, President Zelaya was allowed to return to his home country, a prerequisite for Honduras to be re-admitted to the US-based OAS, which happened shortly thereafter. In November, it became clear that both Zelaya’s wife Xiomara Castro de Zelaya and General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, the commander-in-chief when President Zelaya was ousted, will stand in the presidential election to be held in November 2013. Visit ABBREVIATIONFINDER for the acronym of HND that stands for the country of Honduras.
|Land area||112,090 km²|
|Population density (per km²）||82.4|
|Income per capita||$ 5,600|
|ISO 3166 code||HN|
|Time zone UTC||– 6|
|Geographic coordinates||15 00 N, 86 30 W.|
In early March, the teachers’ union went on strike in protest of, among other things. a bill on changes in the education system. The strike lasted for a month and became periodically violent as police and protesters rallied. While the bill was passed in Congress and the strike was suspended after President Lobo Sosa declared it illegal, the union continued to demand payment of delayed wages and pensions.
A wave of violence swept across the Bajo Aguán region in the province of Colón in August. More than a dozen people were killed and the government deployed hundreds of soldiers to bring order. However, what caused the violence was unclear; Landowners in the area blamed landless peasants with a land dispute, while police claimed that drug smugglers were behind the violence.
History. – The military governments, which have followed one another almost continuously since 1963, left the traditional problems of Honduras unresolved: at the beginning of the 1980s the economy remained heavily dependent on exports of bananas and coffee and on relations with the United States, the distribution of land ownership remained very unbalanced, per capita income it was among the lowest in the region, illiteracy still exceeded 40% in the adult population. The international crisis that developed starting from 1980 therefore hit the country hard, very vulnerable to the trend of international agricultural prices, while the growth of foreign debt and the austerity policies imposed by foreign creditors contributed to aggravate the social situation (at the end of ten years, real per capita income had fallen by more than 10%).
In 1980, General P. Paz García, in power since 1978, initiated a process of transition to a civil government, allowing the election in July 1980 of a constituent assembly and in November 1981 of a parliament (National Assembly) and of a President of the Republic. In January 1982, with the entry into force of the new constitution (like the previous ones of the presidential type) and the establishment of the civil administration, the military formally left power, while maintaining a large degree of autonomy and control over political life (also sanctioned by the constitutional amendments approved by the National Assembly in November 1982).
The consultations of 1980 and 1981 were won by the Partido Liberal (PL), which won the majority of seats in the constituent and legislative assembly and expressed the new president of the Republic, R. Suazo Córdova (1982-86); similar results had the parliamentary and presidential elections of November 1985, which led the liberal J. Azcona del Hoyo to lead the country (1986-90), while those of November 1989, which were won by the Partido Nacional (PN), gave rise to to the administration headed by R. Leonardo Callejas (1990-94).
In all three legislatures, the two parties won almost all the seats, confirming the traditional bipolarity of the political system: the PN, linked to the military since the dictatorship of its founder, T. Carías Andino (1932-48), it is primarily an expression of the more conservative rural oligarchy, while the PL, linked to the urban business sectors, has also represented moderately reformist instances. In any case, the weight of the dominant economic interests is decisive in both parties, confirmed, among other things, by the poor progress of agrarian reform during the two liberal administrations of the 1980s. Furthermore, the conditioning exercised by the military remained decisive,
Traditionally linked to Washington’s support (including cadres training), the military has contributed to the rigid alignment of Honduras to the United States during the Central American crisis of the 1980s.
Since 1981 the country became the main base of the anti-Sandinist guerrillas (the so-called Contras), which operated with the support of Washington against the government of Managua, and was involved in repeated border incidents with Nicaragua; at the same time the USA sent huge forces into Honduras and increased the military pressure on Nicaragua by carrying out annual large joint maneuvers with the army of Tegucigalpa. Even after the agreements signed in Esquipulas (Guatemala City), in August 1987, by the presidents of Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which provided for the dismantling of anti-Sandinist bases, Honduras continued to host them until the end of the civil war in Nicaragua: the Contras they therefore left the country only in the spring of 1990, after the arrival in Managua of the new administration headed by V. Barrios de Chamorro.
Among the consequences of the Central American crisis there was also the influx into Honduras, in the 1980s, of over 20,000 refugees from El Salvador, often subject to violence by the army, committed to repressing any infiltration of the Salvadoran guerrillas. Relations with El Salvador were also conditioned by an old border dispute, which in July 1969 had contributed to unleashing the “football war” (formally closed with a peace treaty only in 1980); in 1986 Honduras and Salvador decided to refer the dispute to the International Court of The Hague, whose verdict in September 1992 awarded to Honduras much of the disputed territory (including an outlet to the Pacific in the Gulf of Fonseca).
Internally, the nationalist administration led by R. Leonardo Callejas since 1990 has tightened the austerity measures (devaluations, cuts in public spending, privatizations, etc.), in an attempt to cope with the difficult situation of foreign debt. However, the resumption of international credits, suspended in 1989, was accompanied by a growth in social protest and in repressive interventions by the army, in particular against peasant unrest, also linked to the age-old problem of agrarian reform.