Honduras Facts 2014 (Answers to Quiz)

I know that everyone has been biting their nails, checking every few minutes to see if the answers have appeared to the quiz from last week. Well, worry no longer overachievers. Stacey and I have spent the past few days pouring over your careful responses, and for the most part, you did pretty well. Most of you really knew your stuff, a few of you... well...

For those of you who haven't taken the quiz, scroll back a couple of posts before reading and give it a shot. Then come back here and check your answers. 

1. Where in the world is Honduras?
Answer: Central America

Map from www.naturalhistoryonthenet.com
I was surprised to see how many answered this one correctly, 90% of you. After you always asking me how things are going in South America, I was sure that this one would be a bust. More than one person in the past has asked me if Honduras is an island. It is always so tempting to say yes.

Technically, Honduras pertains to North America on the sub-continent of Central America. So, we're not even technically on another continent. Obviously, we are getting farther south, but we're still a couple of thousand miles away from the Equator. 

2. What country borders Honduras?
Answer: El Salvador 

Map from geology.com.
Again, great job on what I thought may be a tough question (judging from the questions I get about my life in Africa). 90% answered correctly. Honduras is about halfway down Central America with two coasts: the large northern coast is on the Caribbean Sea (Atlantic), a small southern coast is on the Pacific. The rest of the country shares its border with Guatemala, El Salvador (both to the west) and Nicaragua to the south.

Since Honduras does stretch coast-to-coast, it forms a land bridge like most other Central American countries. Politically, this is significant since it necessitates that all land drug traffic headed north to the United States must pass through it. We'll touch more on this below. 

3. Who is Honduras' current president?
Answer: Juan Orlando
This beautiful mug has been smiling at Hondurans from billboards and posters on highways, rural roads, store walls, shirts, newspapers, and pretty much anything flat enough to hold paper for a year now.

Honduras just passed through its election cycle culminating in the election of National Party Candidate Juan Orlando in November of 2013. Not surprisingly, not many of you seem to be aware of this with only 25% answering correctly. Honduran politics have been out of the spotlight since 2009, when President Manuel Zelaya was forcibly removed from the country in his pajamas during a widely criticized political coups. Our Honduran friends are still quite divided on this move. Zelaya was a mover and a shaker and seems to have upset status-quo in favor of the country's poor, but certainly overstepped his bounds when he called for an illegal vote to allow his presidency to continue into a second term. Honduras currently only allows one four-year term to Presidents. 

Due to the turmoil following the coups, the UN had a heavy presence in November's election and declared the voting legitimate. This is particularly important this year since the presidential race was exceptionally heated this time around. Normally bi-partisan (like the United States), Honduran politics have historically presented two primary candidates vying for the presidency. However, as Hondurans have become more and more discontent with the deplorable corruption plaguing their government, their voting has become even more unpredictable as they seek an answer. This year's voting had an unprecedented four major candidates: Candidate Juan Orlando- Nacionalist Party, Candidate Mauricio Villeda - Liberal Party, Candidate Salvador Nasralla - Anti-Corruption Party, and Candidate Xiomara Zelaya for the Liberty and Reform Party.

If Zelaya sounds familiar, it is because she is the wife of the deposed Manuel, making a run for the presidency and very nearly winning it, which would have begun a puppet presidency run by Manuel Zelaya. By all accounts, this was a disaster very narrowly averted. Due to the UN's presence during the vote and the days following, Zelaya finally decided to accept the chosen candidate Orlando. The Anti-Corruption Party won a significant number of seats (including our district) in Congress; quite the premier for a budding political faction.

By all accounts, thus far Orlando is performing above expectations. This politically-divided country has rallied behind their new leader as he seems to actually root out some of the corrupt members of government, even from his own party. The fact that he is winning public support is surprising, since before the election many were calling him Juan Robando (Robbing John). Several times in the past few months, Honduran headlines have declared the ousting of another after another corrupt high-level politicians, and we have even noticed Interpol agents in the airport personally. Let us hope that this aggressive position on corruption continues.

4. How many people live in Honduras?
Answer: 8 Million

Yet again, you did fairly well with 70% of you answering correctly. Honduras is not a large country, geographically or demographically, but still is interesting for the variety of culture that its inhabitants display. The vast majority of Honduras is ethnically mestizo (90%+) - a mix of Native American and European (typically Spaniard) descent. One other distinct people groups are the Garifuna (3%), a people group of African descent brought as slaves that have their own distinct culture and language along the Caribbean coast of Honduras and much of Central America. Aside from the Garifuna and Mestizo populations, the only other significant people groups are the six Native American (Amerindian, 6%) groups that are either Mayan or Pre-Mayan in origin (such as the Lenca or Moskito). These groups retain their own unique language and cultures in geographically distinct areas of Honduras.

5. How many Hondurans are estimated to be in the United States?
Answer: 1-4 Million

Image from nationalsecurityzone.org.

Obviously, this is a difficult question to answer, although most estimates I have read see to place the number near to 3 million. 70% of you estimated between 1 and 4 million. Good job. 

This obviously has dramatic implications about our perceptions of all the "Mexicans" we see here in the US. Clearly not all of them are Mexican. Hondurans face startling difficulties in order arrive to the US, and we could spend an entire post easily talking about the issue. Any Honduran that arrives to the States has risked his/her life to do so at great personal sacrifice. Even though this may be wrong, it is certainly a complicated issue that deserves much thought before establishing an opinion. If you are interested in reading an outstanding, personal, real-life story about a Honduran immigrant, I would encourage you to pick up Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario. This story, although shocking, seems to match the dozens of stories that I have heard personally about the realities of Central American immigration. Based on a series of newspaper articles that won two Pulitzer prizes, the book sheds a very accurate light into an issue that is often cloudy for us. Buy it here on Amazon.

6. The national mammal of Honduras is...
Answer: White-tailed Deer

Photo from www.cowhampshireblog.com
That's right. The white-tailed deer. Many of you have more face-time with white-tailed deer than with your own dog. I included this question to show that, in one sense Honduras is a world away, yet in another sense, it is closer than we often realize. Although this is the national mammal and is quite protected, weakness in conservation law enforcement means it is rare to meet a Honduran that has even seen one deer in their lifetime. As much time as I have spent in rural areas of Honduras looking for critters, I have never seen one. Responsible conservation is important and is an issue that is currently starting to hit headlines as ecotourism begins to rise.

Most of you missed this one on the quiz, with only 20% guessing correctly. For such a small country, Honduras has an incredible wealth of wildlife, so it is an easy mistake to make. 

7. The national flag of Honduras contains what colors.
Answer: Blue and White
Image from papiblogger.com.

The white stripe between two blue stripes represents Honduras between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The five stars stand for the the original Republic of Central America: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala which all still celebrate a common independence day on September 15.  I thought this might be a given answer on the quiz, but only 68% of you answered correctly. For shame.

An interesting aside is that the Honduran flag is still commonly used to stake controversial land claims. Honduras has very aggressive land rights laws which enormously empower squatters. These laws were originally used to encourage common people to squat on and break up enormous tracts of land owned by the massive banana companies as they grew more powerful than the government in the early 1900s. Fueled by these laws, some Hondurans will still aggressively take over a property in an old-fashioned land grab, establishing their claim by hoisting a Honduran flag up a bamboo pole above their makeshift shack on the land.

8. Honduras' primary export is...
Answer: Coffee!

Las Lomitas coffee. Here proudly displayed by official Heart to Honduras hand model Matt Garrett.
Although Honduras does produce a great deal of textiles, bananas, and palm oil, its number one export is delicious Honduran coffee. Once nearly owned by banana companies (the term "banana republic" supposedly originated in Honduras), the country's coffee has grown in popularity over the past 10 years. The lake area where we live produces some outstanding coffee. Particularly in the San Luis Planos and Santa Barbara Mountain area. Where we live in Las Lomitas, our local economy is driven by coffee production.

If you would like to try some Honduran coffee, you can order from Heart to Honduras here. This coffee (Cafe Burro) is actually grown and roasted literally across the gravel road from our Honduran office. Another excellent Honduran coffee is provided by local Dayton roaster Boston Stoker, which direct purchases coffee from farmer Jose Isidro in Capucas, Honduras. You can buy Heart to Honduras Select here. One dollar from every bag goes to HTH. Our partnership with Boston Stoker has been solid, and we very much appreciate their commitment to Honduras.

It looks like we will all learn a little bit about coffee upon the release of A Film About Coffee. The teaser and information online looks like it should really be a great film for those of us that love coffee. If you dig around enough on the site, you can find some beautiful pictures of some area coffee fields. Peña Blanca is about 15 minutes away from our house and is the site of much of Heart to Honduras´ work.

9. According to a UN Report in 2011, Honduras has the...
Answer: Highest violent crime rate in the world.

Violence is a sad fact of life in Honduras. According to the UN's report published last week, Honduras has more violent crimes per capita than any other country in the world. At 90 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, Honduras dwarfs the international average of 6.2/100,000 and even that of international news wildchild Guatemala (39/100,000). Honduras' rate actually more than triples the violent death rates of Iraq and Afghanistan even when including conflict-related deaths.

As mentioned earlier, Honduras is a part of the land bridge that leads from Colombia/Venezuela to the United States. Supply and demand dictates that the supply of drugs produced in South America pass through Honduras on its way to the demand in the United States. The combination of this drug traffic and the corruption rates of Honduras lead to a deadly fallout for many Hondurans. As the demand in the United States for illicit cocaine grows, thousands of Hondurans are pulled into violent cartels, many just trying to earn a little for their families. Other innocent Hondurans are killed as the crossfire moves into residential areas. If we in the United States cannot learn to curb our appetites for pleasure, we will continue to murder innocent Hondurans: children, mothers, and fathers. 

Guatemala and Mexico consistently make headlines as dangerous countries, but I believe that it is only due to their proximity that we hear about them with Honduras more than double the murder rate of Guatemala. As usual, we are only concerned as a culture by that which might affect us. No bother is someone else is on fire. However we should take note, since shaky peace was brokered between gangs in neighboring El Salvador two years ago, leading to a 40% reduction in the homicide rate. There is hope, and we are called to work for peace, however hard won.

Although these numbers may seem alarming if you are looking to visit Honduras, it should be noted that groups of North Americans seem to be extremely safe. Never in the 25 years of Heart to Honduras operations has a North American been the victim of violent crime, and never have I heard of any North American team member of any organization in Honduras being assaulted. By in large, if North Americans play it safe in Honduras, they will avoid most of the danger.

Be looking for a more-detailed report on Honduras violence soon, once I can work through the UN's 166 page report. 85% of you answered this correctly on this quiz.

10. According to the CIA World Factbook, Honduras is the...
Answer:  second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

With more than half of the population below the financial poverty line and corruption and murder-rates at all time highs, Honduras in desperate need of hope. We personally feel that we should be in Honduras, not in spite of the conditions, but because of them. As believers in Christ, we feel that we must follow His example and fight injustice, spread hope, and share the Truth. 

About 60% of you were aware of this when you took the quiz.

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading this! Thanks for sharing these facts guys!