Honduras Country Report
President Juan Orlando Hernández’s second term in office began on 27 January 2018. Opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla has disputed the election results, alleging ballot-count irregularities, resulting in demonstrations around the country likely to continue early in the new administration. Hernández has made his 20/20 economic development plan central to his second mandate with investments in infrastructure and jobs along with a revised security strategy to lower homicide rates. Economic growth will be supported by a continuation of healthy consumer spending as a result of strong remittance inflows and controlled consumer prices with GDP growth expected at 3.5%.
A presidential election held in Honduras on 26 November 2017 resulted in President Juan Orlando Hernández controversially elected for a second term. Hernández has pursued legislative reforms and anti-corruption institutional restructuring in a bid to improve Honduras's operational environment. Results include some exemptions or waivers on business regulations and streamlined bureaucratic procedures. However, corruption remains an issue both within government institutions, such as the tax department and the security sector. Honduras's infrastructure is poor and long traffic delays can affect cargo delivery schedules, especially near customs processing points. Investors face exposure to potential legal and reputational risks in the resource development sector.
There are no known terrorist groups operating in Honduras. However, changes under Honduran law currently define street gangs as terrorists, which has permitted long custodial sentences for extortion and intimidation crimes. Criminal groups demand regular payment of a "war tax" from businesses and individuals and use targeted assassinations to enforce demands. Since 2010, there have been allegations that paramilitary death squads have resumed operations in Honduras, although this has been denied by the head of the Honduran armed forces. Nevertheless, the country has a history of extrajudicial killings directed against "undesirables" including environmental activists and members of the LGBT community.
Civil conflict risks in the aftermath of the November 2017 presidential election are moderate. Disputes over fraud allegations will likely motivate some opposition groups to challenge the election results through demonstrations and violent activities. Resulting military deployments to urban centres are unlikely to fully mitigate violence during opposition-led protests. Ongoing border disputes with El Salvador and Nicaragua include disagreements over the demarcations of territorial water boundaries in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Fonseca, but military retaliations are unlikely. The military's primary focus is on internal security, tackling narco-trafficking and organised gangs.
Violence risks associated with politically motivated demonstrations in major cities following disputed presidential election results are gradually diminishing. Road blockages are likely to continue sporadically in major cities like Choloma, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and Villanueva and with occasional damages to commercial storefronts and injuries to protestors and security forces. Protest violence between military police and opposition supporters will likely involve tear gas and other non-lethal crowd-control measures. Day-long marches typically block traffic in the Tegucigalpa from the Obelisco de Comayaguela Park to Supreme Electoral Tribunal headquarters, the National Congress, and along the Boulevard Suyapa.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission (with the exception of Panama) and for travelers who have been in transit for >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine (sometimes marketed as Nivaquine).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Honduras (along with Myanmar and Haiti) has been the country most devastated by natural disasters over the past 20 years in terms of economic and human loss. Situational updates are available in Spanish on the website of the Honduran national civil protection (COPECO) in the event of storms or other natural disasters.
The rainy season typically lasts from May/June through October/November. During this period, floods, landslides, and powerful storms can occur, often damaging infrastructure and causing subsequent travel disruptions.
The rainy season also coincides with the North Atlantic Hurricane season. Hurricanes, tropical storms, and storm remnants can hit the country during this period, with storms particularly common in August through October. In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch, one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the region, left 7000 people dead and caused severe material damage.
There is also a risk of earthquakes. A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck in May 2009, causing property damage and several deaths.
Forest fires can strike during the dry season.
Driving conditions in Honduras are concerning due to aggressive driving habits, lax vehicle safety standards, and poor infrastructure (roads are often damaged by abundant rain, floods, and landslides). As such, vehicle collisions are relatively common.
Travel by car and bus after dark is therefore strongly advised against. As inter-city buses are often targeted by criminals, it is advisable to travel by air when possible for any long-distance journeys.
Due to risks associated with unlicensed taxis, it is advisable to only use "Radio Taxis" in Tegucigalpa and "Radio Taxi Barandillas" taxis in San Pedro Sula. In other towns and cities, choose taxis from taxi stations outside hotels and shopping centers, verifying that the driver's ID is displayed on the right-hand side of the windshield. Honduran taxis do not usually have meters; as such, it is advisable to agree to a price in advance.
The climate is tropical (hot and humid) along the coast and drier inland. Temperatures are much cooler in the interior of the country than along the coastline. The rainy season lasts from May until October (when the air is often stifling) but it rains regularly all year long along the Caribbean coast. The interior of the country and the Pacific coast region are dry from November until April. Temperatures and humidity levels are milder in the winter months.
Voltage: 110 V ~ 60 Hz