From the Summary: "The Central American nation of Honduras, one of the hemisphere's poorest countries, faces significant challenges in the areas of crime, human rights, and improving overall economic and living conditions. While traditional agricultural exports of coffee and bananas are still important for the economy, nontraditional sectors, especially the maquiladora, or export-processing industry, have grown significantly over the past decade. Among the country's development challenges are a poverty rate over 70%, high infant mortality, and a significant HIV/AIDS epidemic. Despite these challenges, increased public spending on health and education have reaped significant improvements in development indicators over the past decade. Current President Manuel Zelaya of the Liberal Party won a four-year term in the November 2005 elections. The country has enjoyed 25 years of uninterrupted elected civilian democratic rule. Public support for the Zelaya government remains firm, buoyed by a strong economy that grew an estimated 6% in 2006. The economy has benefited from significant debt reduction by the international financial institutions that is freeing government resources to finance poverty-reduction programs. A key challenge for the government is curbing violent crime and the growth of youth gangs. The Zelaya government initially vowed to focus on reintegrating gang members into society, but it subsequently has resorted to more traditional law enforcement actions to crack down on the gangs."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34027