Honduras Essay

Located in middle Central America, Honduras is a tropical country named after
the depth of the water along the northern border of the Caribbean Sea (Lexis
Nexis). Nicaragua to the South and Guatemala and El Salvador to the West border
Honduras. The climate in Honduras varies depending upon the region. Along the
coast the weather is hot and dry, yet, in the mountain ranges it stays cool the
whole year round. Honduras is the third poorest country in the world. There are
few corporations, universities, and land for the citizens to settle on in
Honduras, causing many citizens to immigrate to other countries to find new
opportunities. Due to the lack of employment, education, and land, Honduran
citizens immigrate to the United States in order to find a better life. Honduras
is a very racially diverse country. Their backgrounds, housing, and economic
patterns differ greatly than those of Americans. Ninety percent of the residence
on the island are Mestizo or Ladinos while the other ten percent are poor groups
known as the Garifuna and the blacks of the West Indies. The Garifuna and the
blacks of the West Indies make up the problem of emigration in the states. By
the 1980’s there was economic and political crisis in all of Central America
and the number of emigrants shot up. In Honduras, at this time, there was a”national economic plan” (American Immigration Cultures 395). This plan took
away much of the land from the common folk, and Honduras economy was so bad that
there were no jobs to offer. This sparked the spike in emigration to the United
States. At this time there was also a spike in the tuition for college and
considering that there are only a few universities in the country. Emigration to
the U.S. started subtly. Much of the emigration is connected to the UFCo and the
Stanford Fruit Company, which at one time monopolized all the banana trade.

Because bananas or one of the main exports of Honduras, many workers, managers,
and their families were granted entry into New York, New Orleans, Boston, and
New Jersey. Even through World War II Hondurans were being sent to the U.S. to
work in factories and housekeeping (American Immigration Cultures 395). It was
not until the 1960’s and 1970’s that “most Hondurans arrived as students,
tourist, or family reunification quotas” (American Immigration Cultures 395).

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The emigration patterns mostly rose in the upper middle class and among single
persons of both genders. The main ages that the emigrants were entering the
country was twenty to thirty four, and four and under fifteen (American
Immigration Cultures 395). These ages reflect that of a working class and their
families they bring with them. At these ages many were excited about the new
working experience and those that did not have families with them were excited
about starting them. When the U.S. has tried to take a census many of the
Garifuna and the blacks for West Indies have been mistaken for African
Americans. Some of the most accurate studies were performed in the 1980s “that
placed a total of 15,000 Hondurans in Los Angeles, 30,000 to 60,000 in New
Orleans, and 5,000 to 10,000 in Houston in 1985. Considering that New York City
had at least as many as New Orleans, and that Boston had at least as many as Los
Angeles, this leaves an estimated 95,000 to 160,000 first generation Hondurans
in those cities alone in the United States in 1985″ (American Immigrant
Cultures395). Even more studies show that in 1976 there were a total of 31,150
Honduran citizens according to the census and an additional 16,039 illegal
aliens living in the U.S. (Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups 210).

Once in the United States, the unfamiliar settlers find their way to their
permanent home or a secondary settlement. Many of the Garifunas have made their
permanent home in different burrows of New York. The Hondurans live mostly in
the South Bronx, which is home for many Dominican and Puerto Rican emigrants.

Also there is a considerable number living in Harlem and Brooklyn where many
African-Americans have settled. The Hondurans that live in New York often end up
working in health care or in building maintenance. The Mestizos have made their
homes throughout city in burrows like Long Island, Queens, and Brooklyn. These
emigrants often find work as domestics, construction, restaurants, and day
labor. The third group that has emigrated is the Blacks of the West Indies. They
made their homes in neighborhoods in New Jersey and surrounding the Boston area.

Unlike the fortunate emigrants who find their homes and settled down, the new
emigrants have to live in places known as secondary settlements. Secondary
settlements are places where Honduran emigrants go before they find their place
of permanent residency. In Houston and Los Angeles such settlements have
expanded considerably. In Miami where usually middle class Hondurans settle,
there has been a growth in secondary settlements as well. There are numerous
reasons Hondurans emigrate to the U.S. to live in cities or secondary
residences. Many emigrate to receive and education in the colleges they have
always dreamed of attending. Unlike many American kids that take college for
granted, Hondurans know how valuable and education is and how fortunate they are
to receive one. Another reason for emigrating is the hopes to make enough money
to build their own house and start their own businesses. After they have
established themselves they usually move their families to their new homes. The
majority of the emigrants that move to the states stay here to live their lives
while others return to Honduras for vacations and short visits. There are a
select few, which earn enough money to return to Honduras and live a life that
they desire. As for the emigrants that remain in the states, their social
cultures “reflect this traditional system and their relationship to the race/
class system of the cities in which they live”(American Immigration Cultures
399). Once the emigrants are settled and working, it is hard for them to move up
in the social hierarchy. Depending on where the Hondurans settle will determine
what they will do with their life. The people who settle in a Hispanic or
Honduran area will find themselves not learning the English language because
they don’t have a use for it. This never puts them in main stream America and
therefore, they struggle to make a life for themselves. The emigrants who grew
up in New Jersey and Boston were surrounded by main stream America. They often
grow up to be professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. The main
reason that many Honduran emigrate to the U.S. is to find more economic
benefits. There are a few Honduran restaurants, travel agencies, and shipping
agencies that exist. But many Hondurans can be seen selling food at the athletic
games, working making tapes of birthdays and weddings, and childcare. Also many
rely on the factories as their main source of income but since many factories
have moved to other countries many Hondurans have been left to either go back to
Honduras and working the factories there or find new jobs in America. There is
only one exception that exists. A family in New York that has an ice cream
company that sells ice cream to the Spanish community. The emigrants who enter
into the country legally and graduate from college find themselves working as
professionals. They usually live in middle class cities and work blue-collar
jobs. Whether through working or living in a community Hondurans have brought
their culture with them. Hondurans, especially mestizos and Garifuna, excel in
the arts around New York City. Secondly, there are many festivals that honor the
Honduran culture. These festivals bring together dancers, bands, and Honduran
food. These celebrations attract many even if they are not Honduran.

Additionally there is a big Spanish language media. There are many Spanish
journalists that are highly respected that work in New York. These Spanish
reporters started a monthly newspaper and magazine called the Nosotros los
Latinos that focuses on the arts. The Honduran journalist also print a paper
called El Sol de Las Americas, which focuses on the Honduran community as a
whole. The success to the Spanish media is related to the strong drive that
holds their culture together. Although Honduran emigrants keep their culture
alive they seem to show a different view on American politics. This can be
attributed to the lack of legal emigrants that have applied to get their visa.

Many don’t even think about the fact of voting or getting involved in
politics. The second reason involves the way the Honduran government runs. Many
citizens do not get the chance to vote or do anything for their country. So it
is almost second hand for them to not think about the future for our country.

Hondurans have made a life choice to come to America to start a new life. Once
they arrive they have many decisions to make: the jobs they want, the places
they choose to live, and the way they associate the culture in their lives. When
the emigrants culturally blend with the others and they show America some of
their culture they feel right at home. Although some remain in the United States
and some return to Honduras, each has shed their personal culture into our
country. We take them weak and strong and our arms are always open to the
emigrants from Honduras.


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