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Republic of Honduras. Libre, Soberana e Independiente. . Honduran Government. Democratic constitutional republic Independent: September 15, 1821 Constitution 1982, amended 1999 Executive – President, direct election, single 4 year term Legislature – unicameral, 4 year term
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Republic of Honduras Libre, Soberana e Independiente.
Honduran Government • Democratic constitutional republic • Independent: September 15, 1821 • Constitution 1982, amended 1999 • Executive – President, direct election, single 4 year term • Legislature – unicameral, 4 year term • Judiciary – Supreme Court of Justice (appt by Congress 7 year terms, confirmed by President) • Political Parties – Conservative, Liberal, National, Innovation and National Unity, Christian Democratic, Democratic Unification • Suffrage – universal and compulsory (18) • Administrative subdivisions – 18 departments
Source: Perry-Castañeda Library Map collection. Map No. 504929 1983 (95K)
Contemporary Honduras • Negatively impacted by CACM boom and economic and political turmoil of 1980s and 1990s. • Governed by armed forces into the 1980s • Shares characteristics with El Salvador, Guatemala and pre-revolutionary Nicaragua • Difference: non-violent domestic experience; government policy follows the Costa Rican pattern – uses government to alleviate impact of negative economic times and avoids or limits repression.
Honduras • Lacks volcanic material – soils negatively impacted • 1800s first development of export economy due to insufficient infrastructure • Until 1970s – a calm counterpoint to the region’s violence.
Elites in Honduras • No fully articulated elite class • Regionally based – not internationally driven by market interests • Emergence of coffee in post World War 2 era limits wealth accumulation • Poor Hondurans • Commercial banana production introduced by internationals at end of 1800s – and started in sparsely populated areas displacing few. • Land has been plentiful and accessible so even displaced persons have had land • Process of concentrating land ownership does not begin until mid-20th century (1900s) • Overall equitable social structures – consequences: • Military unneeded, remains underdeveloped, weak • Banana industry contribution to labor is moderated by Honduran government which has no vested interest (domestic elite ownership) in compressing wages • Labor – free of repressive actions by government or business becomes highly organized • Liberal/conservative political debate begins later in Honduras • Party development not until liberal party leader Marco Aurelio Soto president (1876-1883) prior to this non-ideological caudillos governed and changed power via coup process. • Aurelio Soto follows the liberal ideological pattern and begins the process of attracting foreign investors
Modern Honduras • Mid-20th century on, Honduras begins to look more like other nations of Central America • Liberal/National (conservative) conflict intensifies • Land density/need emerges • Population growth increases • Tension between elites/peasants emerges • Militarization of the political system • Leadership vacuum (L/C conflict) draws military into government. • Military behaves more as arbiter between groups than as an agent of elites • Armed forces do not prove adept at governance – from either economic or political perspectives. • Carter administration pressures General Paz to relinquish power and he does so in 1980. • November 1981 – after constituent assembly to re-write constitution – presidential elections are held.
Roberto Suazo Córdova • 1981 election wins clear majority – most likely with support of conservative military voters • Colonel Gustavo Alvarez Martinez takes command of Armed Forces • Takes office, promptly pressured by Reagan administration to assist U.S. against Sandinistas • Contra War support: • U.S. trains Salvadoran troops in Honduran territory • Contra army stationed in Honduras • U.S. military assistance program expands the size of the Honduran military • Consequences of Contra War support: • Situation causes Alvarez’s power to overshadow/intimidate civilian president • 1984 number of Contra forces in Honduras rivals the size of the Honduran military. • Disrupts public order along the Nicaraguan border • Emergence of death squads – numbers of political disappearances, murders increase • Leftist guerrilla groups emerge (up until this point an anomaly in Honduran politics) • Relations with Nicaragua deteriorate badly
Slow development, sustained growth • Debt and Aid Debt: $3.41 billion (31 December 2007 est.) Aid Given: N/A Aid Received: $680.8 million (2005) • Labour ForceNumber in labour force: 2.78 million (2007 est.) Sectors: agriculture: 34% industry: 23% services: 43% (2003 est.) Unemployment: 27.8% (2007 est.) • GDP Facts and FiguresCurrency: lempira (HNL) GDP: $30.65 billion (2007 est.) GDP Per Capita: $4,100 (2007 est.) GDP Real Growth: 6.3% (2007 est.) GDP Composition: agriculture: 13.4% industry: 28.1% services: 58.6% (2007 est.) Production Growth Rate: 4.4% (2007 est.) • Industries, Land Use and Resource ConsumptionIndustries: sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products Land use: arable land: 9.53% permanent crops: 3.21% other: 87.26% (2005) Exports: coffee, shrimp, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber Electricity Consumption: 4.036 billion kWh (2005) Natural Gas Consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.) Oil Consumption: 43,000 bbl/day (2005 est.) http://www.intute.ac.uk/sciences/worldguide/html/907_economic.html
Contemporary Honduran Politics • 1990s – Liberal economic reforms – attempt to grow the economy out of mal-distribution; consolidation; authoritarianism • 1998 Hurricane Mitch kills 11,000 in the region (5,000 in Honduras) • Destroys infrastructure, homes, environment • 4 Billion in economic losses (National debt consumed 46% of GNP) • Granted relief under Heavily Indebted Poor Countries World Bank Program (900 million) • Structural adjustment and privatization followed as economy is restructured post Mitch. • 1 million Hondurans have emigrated to the U.S. – special dispensation post-M • Disaster aids the consolidation of civilian rule • Military incompetent in Mitch response. • Further undermined as President Flores (01/1998) completes the police reform • Re-emergence of civil society – investigations of military human rights abuses • Crime a persistent problem • Rise in gang violence • 1998-2002: 1,500 youths murdered (males under age 18) – “social cleansing”
President Ricardo Maduro Joest (National Party - 2001) inaugurated in 2002. • deployed a joint police-military force to the streets to widen neighborhood patrols in the ongoing fight against the country's massive crime and gang problem • Neoliberal economic reforms • Worked to negotiate and ratify CAFTA • PresidentJose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya Rosales (Liberal – 2005) – “Citizen power” campaign theme • less than a 4% margin of victory, the smallest in Honduran electoral history. • vowed to increase transparency and combat narcotrafficking, while maintaining macroeconomic stability. • The Liberal Party won 62 of the 128 congressional seats, just short of an absolute majority