The Catholic Church has long dominated Honduras and still claims to represent more than three-quarters of the population. But the proportion of Protestants has increased rapidly and in a 2017 survey, for the first time, more Hondurans identified themselves as Protestants than as Catholics.
In recent decades, some of the Catholic Church’s representatives have been involved in the fight against poverty, including by criticizing political decisions that the Church considers disadvantaged to the poor.
Bay Islands (Islas de Bahia) in the Caribbean is an ancient Protestant stronghold. In recent decades, North American Protestant communities have successfully missioned in Honduras.
A small proportion of the indigenous people still practice traditional religions. Religious traditions from Africa remain among the blacks.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Honduras, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.
Long penalty for murder of environmentalist
Seven people receive their convictions for the 2016 murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres. The seven were found guilty a year earlier (see November 2018). Four guided killers are now sentenced to 50 years each, of which 34 years for the murder of Cáceres and 16 years for the contemporary murder trial of a Mexican activist (see March 2016). Three people – one military and two elevators at the energy company Desa – are sentenced to 30 years in prison for ordering the murder.
President’s brother convicted of drug trafficking
A New York jury makes a convicting verdict against the president’s brother, former Congressman Tony Hernández, who, according to prosecutors, used his government relations to smuggle cocaine into the United States. The judge finds Hernández guilty on all counts (see November 2018). The sentence that is expected to be announced in 2020 could be 30 years in prison.
New demands for the president’s departure
Police use tear gas to disperse protesters in Tegucigalpa demanding the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernández. Earlier in the day, several thousand of the president’s supporters also marched in the capital. Hondurans are deeply divided over allegations in a US court that Hernández was personally involved in the drug smuggling for which his brother was charged.
US prosecutors accuse the president of bribery
Prosecutors in the United States claim that President Juan Orlando Hernández has received millions of dollars in bribery from drug offenses. Among other things, notorious Mexican drug king Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has personally handed over a million dollars to the president’s brother Tony Hernández, money intended for the president. The information is presented when the trial of Tony Hernández begins in New York (see November 2018). President Hernández dismisses the information as “absurd”. Tony Hernández, who was a congressman in Honduras 2014–2018, is said to have worked with others in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico importing cocaine into the United States, via aircraft, boats and submarines. Prosecutors allege that Tony Hernández was also involved in at least two murders of rival drug smugglers, in 2011 and 2013.
Migrant agreement with the United States
The government signs an agreement with the United States that makes Honduras “a safe third country”. This means that asylum seekers who pass Honduras on their way to the United States can be sent back to Honduras. The US has already signed similar agreements with El Salvador and Guatemala. The agreements will go to court and must be ratified in parliaments before they are fully valid. Critics do not think Honduras can be considered a safe country for people fleeing violence and poverty.
Protest in celebration of Independence Day
In connection with the official celebration of Independence Day, a protest march is being held in Tegucigalpa. The demonstration organized by the opposition party Libre is met by riot police with tear gas and water cannons. Libre’s leader, former president Manuel Zelaya, in a speech accuses the government of shady links to drug dealers.
Ex-president’s wife gets jail
Former President Porfirio Lobo’s wife Rosa Elena Bonilla is sentenced to 58 years in prison for embezzling $ 779,000 of aid money and public funds, during her husband’s term in power 2010–2014. Her personal assistant is sentenced to 48 years in prison for fraud. According to the court, Bonilla has used the money to buy jewelry and pay for health care and the schooling of children. She was arrested in February 2018, in connection with an investigation into lost money that would have gone to shoes for poor children, among other things.
Honduras recognizes Jerusalem
Honduras announces that the country now recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The message that comes a few days before President Juan Orlando Hernández makes a trip to Israel follows a previous decision in Congress (see April 2018).
Military police shoot at students
At least five students are injured when some 40 military police open fire on protesters at a university in Tegucigalpa. They should have first fired tear gas but then hunted and shot sharply at students since they threw stones. Two military police officers must also have suffered burns from molotov cocktails.
Military is deployed against protesters
At least three people are reported dead after military sent to intervene in connection with violent protests against President Juan Orlando Hernández in several parts of the country. Many injured people are also taken to hospitals after raids with looting, barred roads and buildings set on fire. President Hernández defends the decision to deploy military by keeping roads open and defending private property. A truck driver strike has caused fuel shortages, but the president now says that a deal has been reached that will provide better compensation for transportation. The security situation worsened as the riot police withdrew from the streets of Tegucigalpa, to put pressure on the government for better benefits.
Right to disputed reforms
Following protests that have been going on for a month, President Juan Orlando Hernández is withdrawing earlier decisions to restructure the education and health care sector (see April 2019). The demonstrations have resulted in schools and health clinics being closed for several weeks. Security forces have increasingly used harsh measures to stop the protests, while more and more protesters demand the resignation of the president. Hernández’s popularity figures are at the bottom, and criticism against him has grown since it was revealed that he was under investigation by the US drug control agency DEA during his first presidential term.
Violent protests against reform plans
A demonstration against planned changes in education and medical policy degenerates in the riots of Tegucigalpa. Dozens of people are injured in clashes between protesters and riot police, and many are arrested. More than 250 people are forced to leave the town hall since it was set on fire, and people are also evacuated from other burning buildings. Protests erupted already when the reform package was adopted in Congress five days earlier. Both doctors and teachers have gone on strike against feared mass redundancies in the public sector.
Another migrant caravan on the way
Nearly 1,000 people gather in San Pedro Sula to jointly try to get through Mexico to the US border. They thus expect to make the same journey as thousands have done in recent months, despite many migrants getting stuck at the border. US President Trump has threatened to close the border unless the influx slows.
US aid is withdrawn
The United States announces that aid to Honduras, as well as to El Salvador and Guatemala, for 2017 and 2018 will be fully withdrawn, according to an order from President Trump. It’s unclear how much money is involved, but Trump himself has spoken of $ 500 million. Trump is accusing the three Central American states of not doing anything to stop the widespread migration to the United States.
Television journalist Gabriel Hernández is shot to death on his way to his home in Nacaome. Hernández was the program manager for the TV channel Valle and in his program has often criticized the local authorities. He had previously received threats and requested protection, but had been refused. According to the National Human Rights Commission Conadeh, 77 journalists have been murdered since 2001, over 70 of them after the 2009 coup (see Modern History).
Protests on the anniversary of the Hernández installation
Thousands of people are demonstrating around the country on the day one year after Juan Orlando Hernández swore presidential elections for the second time. Clashes with riot police are reported. Opposition leader and former president Manuel Zelaya says the protests will continue and lead to a national strike until the “dictatorship” falls. The protests are also taking place in light of the widespread violence and poverty that has caused thousands of people to leave Honduras in recent months to try to make their way to the United States.