Even though residents of Zacate Grande have fended off attempts by domestic and international investors and their own national government to seize their land in the interest of future development, the threats posed by ZEDEs are unlike any in the past. As international human rights expert Erika Piquero writes in the Latin Correspondent, ZEDE law presents investors and corporations with the unique ability to work within a separate legislative system, with its own laws, courts, infrastructure, tax law and equipped with an ability to evict inhabitants of land slated for development.
Opponents, proponents offer their views
The opposition points out that the creation of ZEDEs is akin to selling off the country’s sovereignty bit by bit, and terribly violating the human rights of the nation’s most oppressed and marginalized peoples.
The government and the project’s neoliberal supporters stand by the project’s main objective: ZEDEs will spur an unprecedented amount of development and economic growth, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and lifting the nation out of its perpetual state of poverty and underdevelopment.
Opposition leaders, critics, human rights activists and community counter tha this this “development” will only benefit the already wealthy investors; in much the same way as similar schemes have in the past.
A predominantly indigenous, Afro-indigenous community
|Photo: Rick Wunderman, Wikimedia Commons|
Even though Honduras has signed most major international accords on human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, the ZEDEs would suspend basic rights like habeas corpus and other internationally recognized rights. Mixed with Honduras’ checkered past in respecting human rights law, many critics are hoping this plan more model cities and economic development does not plunge the communities within these zones into a state of lawlessness, where the whims of investors and corporations literally run the courthouse.
With many human rights activists and academics linking the creation of ZEDEs more to patterns of Honduran militarization than to actual neoliberal plans for development, we may begin to see a situation where military and security forces are literally and legally acting as a strong arm force for the interests of investment, maintaining ‘order’ in these fantastical economic zones, and perhaps physically removing people from their land.
Also in LADB on Jan. 14-16
- Veracruz Continues to Live Up to Reputation as Dangerous State for Journalists
- Insecurity Takes Back Seat to Immigration at Recent Summit Between Presidents Enrique Peña Nieto and Barack Obama
- Transparency Concerns Regarding Election of Guatemala's Comptroller General
- Peru’s New Youth Employment Law Sparks Protests, Calls For Repeal
- Venezuelans United Against U.S. Sanctions
(Subscription required to read full LADB articles. Click here for subscription information)