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Our Manifesto

They have stolen our democracy, they have deprived us from our freedom, they have tried to silence us, but we will not allow them to steal our sovereignty and our lands.

 

Honduras has become a narco state, impoverished and manipulated by an aristocratic group of white-collar politicians who seek to generate fortunes at all costs though corruption and with total impunity. Narcos infiltrated in all the powers of the state, have been taking daring and calculated steps over the last ten years, leading to the construction of autonomous paradises with free access to our air and sea ports for their beneficiaries in projects disguised as “Charter Cities” or ZEDES.

Inspired by the liberalist idea of economist and Nobel Prize winner, Paul Romer in his 2009 TED talk, on the creation of “charter cities” in the world, this aristocratic group of Honduran power has managed to manipulate, readapt and approve this law, without anyone being able to oppose it.

A clear example of this is in 2011, during Porfirio Lobo's term, were the executive and legislative order of Honduras approved the “Law of REDEs” (Special Development Regions) however it was the Honduran Supreme Court, who voted against it for considering it unconstitutional as it clearly violated our sovereignty, territory and democratic form of government.

This was no more than a small delay in their plans, a month later, the national congress led by Juan Orlando Hernandez, current president of Honduras, managed to illegally replace the four magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber who had voted against the proposal and immediately proceeded with the swearing-in of four substitutes. The United Nations considered the “dismissal of Honduran Supreme Court judges an attack on democracy”. It was then, that another draft was made with even worse conditions and it was approved by the legislative branch with no longer an impartial judicial branch being able to repeal it. This new law became the ZEDES (Zones of Employment and Economic Development).
 

The Constitution was amended with reformed articles (Art 294, 304 and 329), violating, according to the Honduran Bar Association, the "Principle of territorial application of the National Law", the No. 169 Convention of the International Organization of Labor and the Cruz-Wyke International Treaty between England and Honduras. Prior to the approval of this new law, an understanding agreement was signed for the construction of what would be the first ZEDE in Honduras between the Commission for the Promotion of the Public-Private Alliance and the dubious International Consortium MGK Group (www. mgkgroup.com), who had just released their fake website.

Paul Romer, who allegedly appointed by President Lobo as the coordinator of the Transparency Committee, noticed the lack of transparency in the process and decided to withdraw from the project in Honduras in an open letter published and addressed to the country's president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, the 7th of September 2012.

This is how a systematic plan has been launched to begin expropriating lands of many communities in different parts of the country (Gulf of Fonseca and the Caribbean Sea) to make way for foreign investors who promise to bring a world-class law system, to come and bring "prosperity" without any limitation caused by the administrative system.

This is the case of Crawfish Rock a Garifuna, Mesquite and Afro-British descendant community in Roatán, Bay Islands. They are currently being threatened by the dispossession of their ancestral lands for the creation of the PROSPERA ZEDE. A “semi-autonomous” zone built on the Próspera platform and anchored to the Constitution of Honduras.


Without having been previously consulted and during the preventive confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEO of the PROSPERA ZEDE, Erick Brimen came to the Crawfish community to “socialize” the “Prospera” project that, in association with the government of Honduras, is planned to start in 2020.

 

There was no “free, prior, and informed consent” of the Crawfish Rock communities and of the Bay Islands regarding their ancestral lands, resources and self determination. Their basic human rights have been ignored and violated with these anti democratic and unconstitutional actions, as well as the safety and preservation of the environment.

Currently, Próspera Village has 58 acres of initial land, however according to Brimen - the project promises to have more than 700 acres in the coming years -, which puts not only the Crawfish Rock community at risk, but much of the rest of the island and many other areas throughout the country such as Cortés, Colón, Atlántida, Gracias a Dios, Valle, Choluteca, Islas de la Bahía and Golfo de Fonseca.


It is important to raise awareness among foreign investors of PRÓSPERA ZEDE, that HONDURAS IS NOT FOR SALE, for them to reconsider the consequences that this would imply for the community of Roatán and the entire Honduran population. 

 

This is an illegal project that deepens the historical exclusion of our people, seeks to divide our country little by little, and exploit - instead of preserve - our ecosystem, leaving us in worse conditions than we now suffer. 

 

We invite you to come and invest in Honduras, but doing it so like the hundreds of foreign investors that through many decades have come to undertake their projects; respecting our human rights, respecting our culture, our environment and above all our laws and fundamental rights.

If you are Honduran, no matter where you are, join and sign this petition to derogate the "Organic Law of ZEDES". Help us spread this motion to rescue our land from the hands of organized crime. 

 

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The model cities of Honduras, a blow to sovereignty?

In Roatán (Caribbean department in the Islas de la Bahía archipelago) and Tegucigalpa on May 20, protesters raised the slogan "Honduras is not for sale, the people defend it!", While demanding the repeal of the Organic Law of the Zones of Employment and Economic Development and the suspension of any modification of this legal text.

Congress of Honduras modified article 32 of the ZEDE Law

The reforms violated the Organic Law of the ZEDE that stipulates that for this type of reforms the approval of two-thirds of the deputies is needed, that is, 86 votes and in yesterday's session 133 people were connected to the Zoom platform, according to the counts of Redondo, who at the same time clarified that at the time of the vote he did not know how many voted or if all the people connected were deputies.

People speak out against ZEDEs in Honduras

There is a big difference between saying you want to allow city-scale reform zones that will encourage reform and innovation, and saying that you want to do away with government entirely and let a corporate entity run a private city. 

 

“What they are trying to do is so wrong that I can’t tell if what we are watching is a farce or a tragedy. It could end up as farce because I can’t imagine a thoughtful investor would go in and invest under these circumstances, in a place controlled by a crony aristocracy. I predict that this effort will collapse on its own. But legally the structure now exists.”

 

- Paul Romer, Economist & Noble Prize Winner

 

RECENT EVENTS

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224 years of Garifuna presence in Honduras

April 12, 2021

Event that took place on Punta Gorda . The community gathered together along with members of OFRANEH to commemorate their 4 missing brothers. With this they say "There is nothing to celebrate".

"They are criminalizing us, disappearing and murdering us."

 

PODCASTS

Zedes or free cities in Honduras: the third is the charm

Contracorriente Honduras - Ep 13 / Nov 2020

After years of speculation, studies, meetings and signing of agreements, in our country the first project of special zones, popularly known as model cities, has been launched. The first district of this project began to materialize in May of this year, when the Honduran population was facing the second month of health crisis.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/3g4Dqes5MDYbYRo9W7men7?si=h0hwx_E2SrmQa7p8BUe4hA&nd=1

Dr. Mark Lutter interviews Eric Brimen, CEO of Próspera

Charter Cities Institute - Ep 12 / Sep 7th, 2020

On this podcast Erick unpacks news about Próspera, the philosophy behind its founding, and the vision for its short-term and long-term future. He explains approaches to governance, reform, cultural integration, common law and the legal side of starting a city, as he gives a look into the various frameworks that have been put in place for management and legislation. 

www.chartercitiesinstitute.org/post/charter-cities-podcast-episode-12-eric-brimen

The Documentary Podcast / The Private Cities of Honduras

BBC Sounds / July 18th, 2018

Luis Fajardo examines a controversial plan to create privatised cities in the impoverished Central American country of Honduras. Nearly a decade ago a US star economist, Paul Romer, proposed “charter cities” as a model for developing countries to escape poverty and violence; new cities with Western-style institutions and laws, to be built and managed by foreigners in semi-autonomous enclaves carved out of the country.

www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06f21zs

Free Talk Live inteviews Michael Strong, CEO of MGK Group

Free Talk Live - LRN.FM / Sep 10th, 2012

Michael Strong is the CEO of MGK Group (the mysterious company who intented to install a Special Region for Development) an organization working to build autonomous cities in Honduras. We get the scoop and address the tough issues.

https://soundcloud.com/freetalklive/ftl-interviews-michael-strong