Honduran-Americans - Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 4, 2010 12:10pm | Post a Comment

In the US, the word "Latino" is used often, regardless of accuracy, as shorthand for a region's dominant Latino population. In the southwest it usually means "Mexican," in the northeast it means "Puerto Rican" and in Florida, "Cuban." Indeed, those are the three largest populations of Latino-Americanos in the country, although it goes without saying that there are many less-recognized groups of Latinos. Each have their own distinct culture, history, and place in America.

Flag of Honduras

This entry is about Hondurans, who at an estimated 527,154 (although possibly as high as 890,317) currently living in the US, make up the eighth (or seventh, depending on figures) largest Latino population in the country.

Protest in Honduras against Battalion 316

Upon assuming the office of president in 1981, Ronald Reagan authorized the CIA to have their paramilitary officers from the Special Activities Division begin financing, arming and training rebels to advance right-wing interests in Nicaragua. Meanwhile, the US backed Honduran army and death squads, notably Battalion 316, waged a quieter conflict against the left in Honduras. The bloodshed and economic situation provided the impetus for many Hondurans to pursue work and residency in the US, especially in The Carolinas, New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Florida, Virginia and Los Angeles. In the latter, they often settled in the Midtown neighborhoods of Westlake and Wilshire Center, although many Garifuna, whose blackness trumps their Latino-ness in Los Angeles, settled in predominantly black South LA neighborhoods.

Honduran Grill-Out

Honduran-Americans's self-identify as 90% Mestizo, 7% Native, 2% Black and 1% white. Most of the indigenous people are Lenca, Xicaques, Miskitos, Payas or the Ch'orti' peoples. The food of the Honduras reflects their particular cultural mix of indigenous, European and West African traditions. Popular foods in Honduran cuisine include avocados, baleada, bananas, beef soup, carneada, catrachitas, chilaquiles, chimol, enchiladas, fried Yojoa fish, montucas, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plantains, plums, sapotes, seafood soup, sopa de caracol, soap de mondongo, sopa mariner, tacos fritos, tamales, tortilla con quesillo and yucca con chicharrón.

When Hondurans came to the US, they also brought their music. Punta was originally developed by the Garifuna people in the 1700s. Contemporary punta and punta rock developed in Honduras, Belize and Guatemala and is popular in the US where Hondurans and those from neighboring countries have settled. Other forms of dance music popular amongst Hondurans include charikawi, gunchei, matadfgmuerte and sambai. However, I don't know of any Honduran-American musicians.

America Ferrera Daniel Zacapa Jose Zuniga Carlos Mencia Rocsi

There are a handful of Honduran-American actors/entertainers who've made some inroads. They include America Ferrera, Daniel Zacapa, José Zúñiga, Carlos Mencia and Rocsi.

There haven't been a lot of American movies with Honduran characters. There is Sin Nombre, a US/Mexican co-production.

...and some Honduran kids...

Honduran kids

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Relevant Tags

Latino Cinema (7), Hispanic Heritage Month (34), Honduras (2), Honduran (1), Honduran-american (1), Central American (3), Latino/spanish Cinema (9), Native American Heritage Month (11)