For much of the 1980s, Palmerola was essentially a U.S. military enclave, from which the Contra war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was directed. More recently, the base has been used in the war against drugs.
Growing pressure from Honduran citizens and politicians against U.S. presence has led to a reduction in the number of personnel at the base. In 1995, more than 2,000 U.S. military were housed here; that number dropped to 450 by 1996. At last report, the number of military personnel at the base was around 1,000.