SOCIETY spoke with Chargé d’Affaires of Honduras, Lesly Sánchez-Alvarado, about the 200th Independence Day of Honduras, the mile stones in the country ’s history, the relations between Honduras and Austria and her personal wishes for the future of the Central American state.
Honduras is celebrating 200 years of independence in 2021. How will this bicentenary be honoured, despite the Covid-19 crisis?
The challenges we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic have forced us to rethink the activities we had planned in order to commemorate the bicentenary of independence. For this reason, we will carry out various virtual activities, such as cultural, touristic, and economical oriented events and conferences on the history of these last 200 years of Honduras. Every Honduran citizen residing abroad wants to be able to share this historic event within their Honduran diaspora, which is why I think virtual activities are the ideal solution to ensure this, despite the current pandemic.
We are optimistic and believe that by September, when we celebrate our independence, we will be able to hold personal events – both nationally in Honduras and in every other country where Honduras is represented. We want to showcase everything we have and present what we are proud of.
What does the 200-year anniversary of independence mean for the Republic of Honduras?
The bicentenary of Honduran independence represents 200 years of freedom, sovereignty, and the continuous struggle for democracy. This year’s celebration of independence is an inclusive holiday as we remember the historical development of our country and plan a brighter future for our nation and every single Honduran citizen.
What were the milestones in the 200-year history of Honduras since the independence?
Honduras has passed through many important milestones throughout its 200 years of its independence. One of the most important was the unification of the Central American countries into a single Federal Republic in 1824, which was ruled by the Honduran forefather Francisco Morazán. After the fall of the Central American Federal Republic, Honduras sought a foreign policy in order to open the country to the outside world, especially towards neighboring countries. This period is also characterized by the beginning of investments from North America at the end of the 19th century and the installation of the first hydropower plant in Central America in Honduras.
In the 20th century, President José Ramon Villeda Morales signed the first treaty of trade and economic integration with the Central American countries and achieved closer rapprochement with the United States to encourage investment in Honduras.
How is Honduras represented in Austria and what are the bilateral relations between the two countries like?
Honduras is represented by the Embassy of Honduras in Austria, which opened in 2018. In 1871 the first Austrian honorary consulate was opened in Honduras. In 1993 and 1996, two more honorary consulates were opened in Honduras in the capital Tegucigalpa and in San Pedro Sula.
This year, Honduras and Austria are celebrating 150 years of diplomatic relations, and with the opening of the Embassy in 2018 we will continuously aim to promote the friendship and cooperation and strengthen the economic ties between the two countries.
What are your personal wishes for the next 200 years of your country?
I would like to leave an ecologically sustainable country for future generations that will commemorate the upcoming 200 years. I want to make sure that Honduras can implement strategies that will allow us to mitigate and adapt to climate change as Honduras is currently one of the hardest struck countries by the effects of climate change, even though we are only accountable for less than 0,1% of the greenhouse gases produced worldwide. I also wish that Honduras will become a country with strong economic development and social justice for every Honduran citizen.