The Ambassadors REVIEW
Honduras: Crisis, Transition and Reform
United States Ambassador to Honduras, 2008-2011
his should be a time of triumph and opportunity for Honduras. Two years
after a coup d’état toppled President José Manuel Zelaya, Honduras has
successfully restored its dynamic and democratic political system. The
freely elected government of President Porfirio Lobo has secured deserved international
recognition. In May, former President Zelaya returned to Honduras, ending a lengthy exile
in the Dominican Republic that had prolonged the country’s political polarization. The
following month, the Organization of American States (OAS) lifted its suspension on
Honduras’s participation, a moment of profound symbolic and practical significance and a
diplomatic objective that the United States and other countries in the region had worked
long and hard to achieve.
Importantly, Honduras’s economy and public finances have stabilized and are on
the right track. The political crisis, coupled with the
global financial crisis, battered Honduras; in 2009,
gross domestic product (GDP) declined by two
the budget deficit ballooned and foreign
investors fled just as the US recession dampened
demand for Honduran exports. In the maquila
industry, clustered on the Caribbean coast near
Puerto Cortés, orders plummeted by 40 percent, and
factory owners idled 30,000 employees, nearly 20
percent of that sector’s workforce.
Honduran economy is expanding across a broad
front. GDP growth is projected to be 3.7 percent this
year and four percent next year.
Providing a further
boost, international assistance is strong, giving
critical support to a country where the average adult
has six years of education and only 13 percent of the population uses the Internet.
Politically, the Lobo government has moved swiftly to achieve national
reconciliation since assuming office in January 2010. In July, the Truth Commission,
appointed by President Lobo to investigate the causes and consequences of the political
“Executive Board Approves $202 Million in Financial Support for Honduras,” International Monetary
Fund, 1 October 2010. Available online: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2010/pr10374.htm.
“Honduras Background Note,” United States Department of State, 18 August 2010. Available online: