Foreign policy and defense
Since the late 1800s, the United States has
played an important role in Honduras development -
economically, politically and militarily. Relations with
neighboring countries Nicaragua and El Salvador are
currently stable, despite several conflicts in the past,
and Honduras has signed trade agreements with several
countries in the region.
As a result of the 2009 coup, many countries broke
off contacts with the country, but after elections were
held and a new president took office in 2010, relations
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Honduras for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The US is the country's largest trading partner and
the American fruit companies Chiquita and Dole have had
a great influence. During the 1980s, Honduras was the
base for US support for the right-wing guerrilla contras
in Nicaragua (see Modern History). At most, nearly 5,000
American soldiers were stationed at Palmerola Air Base
north of Tegucigalpa. From 1990 onwards, the United
States has reduced its military presence in Honduras and
reduced its military support to the country.
Relations between countries have sometimes been
strained as a result of drug smuggling from South
America via Honduras to the United States. American
expulsions of illegal Honduran immigrants have also
caused irritation between the countries. But after the
devastating hurricane Mitch 1998 hit Honduras, relations
improved. The United States provided extensive
assistance for reconstruction and provided 75,000
illegal Honduran immigrants with temporary work permits.
These have since been extended on a couple of occasions
but in 2018, the Trump administration decided that they
should cease to apply.
Relations with the United States deteriorated rapidly
during President Manuel Zelaya's time in power
(2006–2009) as Honduras began to approach the socialist
countries of Cuba and Venezuela. However, the United
States withdrew from the coup d'état against Zelaya in
June 2009. Much of its civilian and military assistance
to Honduras was frozen and the coup makers' visas to the
United States were revoked. Following President Lobo's
accession in early 2010, normalization of relations with
the United States began. The United States has demanded
improvements in the security situation and the human
In 2014, the United States formed an Alliance for
Prosperity with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and
pledged a total of $ 750 million to the three countries
in the "Northern Triangle" which is the most violent
region in the world where there is no war. The idea was
that the money would be used to improve security and
reduce poverty in the three countries, thus
counteracting the widespread influx of migrants
illegally applying to the United States. The alliance
was then formed a sharp increase noted by the number of
Central Americans, and not least minors, who were trying
to make their way to the United States. Honduras
received an initial payment of $ 125 million in early
2017. The US attitude has since hardened, following
Trump's entry, and demands are now being made for
Honduras to help stop migrant flows on other roads (see
Population and language).
Relations with neighboring countries Nicaragua and El
Salvador have sometimes been characterized by war and
border disputes. It was not until 1992 that the
International Court of Justice in The Hague decided the
boundary dispute between Honduras and El Salvador after
the 1969 football war (see Modern History). With the
dispute, Isla de Conejo (Rabbit Island) in the Gulf of
Fonseca came to Honduras, something El Salvador never
approved. At regular intervals, word war at government
level is flaring up around the island. In 2007, the
court ruled on a 20-year dispute between Honduras and
Nicaragua over the boundary in the waters surrounding
the San Andrés Islands in the Caribbean.
Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala signed a trade
agreement in 1992, which later Nicaragua and Costa Rica
signed. In 2000, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador
signed a free trade agreement with Mexico. In 2006,
Honduras also joined the DR-Cafta Free Trade Agreement,
which was concluded between the Central American
countries, the Dominican Republic and the United States.
After the 2009 coup d'état, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El
Salvador initiated a trade blockade against Honduras.
The blockade was canceled when President Lobo took
office in January 2010.
A collaboration project initiated in 2001 between the
Central American states and Mexico, Plan Puebla Panama
(later renamed Proyecto Mesoamérica), has led mainly to
major infrastructure investments in the region.
As the first Brazilian president to ever visit Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva in July 2007 Honduras. In
connection with the visit, a number of cooperation
agreements were signed between the countries. This
probably contributed to Brazil's decision to support
Zelaya after the 2009 coup and that the overthrowing
president was later granted a sanctuary at the Brazilian
Embassy in Honduras (see Modern History). After
President Lobo took office, Brazil severed diplomatic
relations with Honduras in protest against what they
believed were illegitimate elections. Only in February
2012 could diplomats return after Lobo met Brazil's
President Dilma Rousseff in Argentina the year before.
The coup in 2009 meant that the Organization of the
United States (OAS) for the first time since 1962 (when
Cuba was shut down) excluded a Member State, Honduras.
After Zelaya was allowed to return to Honduras in May
2011, Honduras resumed in OAS as a member. The coup also
meant that the EU broke its diplomatic relations with
Honduras, froze all aid to the country and suspended the
ongoing negotiations for an association agreement
between the EU and the Central American states. With
President Lobo, relations and assistance were resumed.
In June 2012, the EU also signed an association
agreement with the Central American states, including
Honduras. In 2010, relations with the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), which after the coup,
also normalized their loans, also normalized.
The military has great power in Honduras. It was not
until 1998 that the country received a civil defense
minister and the general military duty was abolished.
Despite this, the military has continued to be a power
player, which not least showed the coup in 2009. During
the period 2002–2013, the military also took on an
increasingly police role.
In 2012, the defense consisted of 12,000 men. The
same year, the United States had 360 soldiers stationed
in the country. The civilian police force comprised more
than 14,000 men in 2012. In 2013, a new military police
force of 500 men was created, led by the Ministry of
Defense, but with civilian duties.
FACTS - DEFENSE
7,300 men (2017)
The air Force
2 300 men (2017)
1 350 men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
1.6 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
5.8 percent (2017)