Honduras & US Relationships

Honduras & US Relationships GOVERNMENT Mainland Honduras gained independence from Spain in 1821.  Roatán, an island in the Caribbean Sea. has a colorful and different history that weaves in stories of Indians, invaders, pirates, buried gold, and a blend of races and languages.

A good description of Roatán’s story is available at: The 1982 Honduran constitution provides for a strong executive, a unicameral National Congress, and a judiciary appointed by the National Congress. The president is directly elected to a 4-year term by popular vote. The Congress also serves a 4-year term; congressional seats are assigned the parties’ candidates in proportion to the number of votes each party receives in the various departments. The judiciary includes a Supreme Court of Justice (one president and 14 magistrates chosen by Congress for a 7-year term), courts of appeal, and several courts of original jurisdiction–such as labor, tax, and criminal courts.

For administrative purposes, Honduras is divided into 18 departments, with 298 mayors and municipal councils selected for 4-year terms. Honduras is a strong ally of the U.S. and generally supports U.S. initiatives. There is close cooperation with Honduras in the areas of counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism.

The Honduran port of Puerto Cortez is part of the U.S. Container-security Provision. In 2004, the United States and Honduras signed the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which eliminates tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods, services, agricultural products, and investments. Additionally, CAFTA is expected to solidify democracy, encourage greater regional integration, and provide safeguards for environmental protection and labor rights.

U.S. Policy Toward Honduras U.S.-Honduran ties are further strengthened by numerous private sector contacts, with an average of between 80,000 and 110,000 U.S. citizens visiting Honduras annually plus between 500,000 and one million cruise ship passengers coming to Roatán yearly and about 15,000 Americans residing there.

More than 150 American companies operate in Honduras. In order to help strengthen Honduras’ democratic institutions and improve living conditions, the United States has provided substantial economic assistance. The United States has historically been the largest bilateral donor to Honduras.

Over the years, U.S. foreign assistance has helped advance such objectives as fostering democratic institutions, increasing private sector employment and income, helping Honduras manage its arrears with international financial institutions, providing humanitarian aid, increasing agricultural production, and providing loans to micro-businesses.

Recent Politics Zeleya’s critics said the vote, which was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, aimed to remove the current one-term limit on serving as president and pave the way for his possible re-election. The November elections went off as scheduled with excellent voter participation and the newly elected President, Pepe Lobo, was inaugurated January 27th, 2010.

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