PBI-Honduras accompanies actions in La Ceiba and Tegucigalpa against Economic Development and Employment Zones (ZEDES)
On June 22, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted: “Last Saturday [June 19] we were watching the Cabildo Abierto in which the population of La Ceiba said ‘no’ to ZEDES. They argue that ‘it is a surrender of territory, even though national authorities paint it as a beautiful and prosperous project’.”
PBI-Honduras adds in their Facebook post: “Likewise, today [Tuesday June 22] we see in Tegucigalpa a stand before the Supreme Court Justice in which Honduran civil society organizations ratifies their right to ‘be and exist on these lands’ and reaffirm their ‘historic commitment to bring down the ZEDE’.”
What is a ZEDE?
ZEDE refers to an Economic Development and Employment Zone.
NACLA has provided the context that: “Hondurans are facing a sudden onslaught of these new jurisdictions which international promoters refer to as charter cities, startup cities or free private cities. …Honduran politicians from the National Party proposed the zones shortly after the 2009 military coup, which made the country a ripe location for experimentation with extreme neoliberal policies.”
That article adds: “The 2013 ZEDE law provided unprecedented legislative, administrative, judicial, and financial autonomy to investors for a wide range of territorial ventures, including urban development and resource extraction.”
As of February 2021, there have been two ZEDEs officially launched: Honduras Próspera and Ciudad Morazán. NACLA notes that the founders of Próspera have referenced a third site in La Ceiba (which PBI-Honduras notes above).
Town Hall in La Ceiba
Residents of La Ceiba held an open town hall meeting on Saturday June 19.
The day prior to this town hall, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “We echo the concerns of civil society for this installation by ‘promoting a logic of large-scale dispossession, increasing the violation of human rights’.”
Radio Progreso reports: “When asked if they agreed to declare the municipality free of ZEDES, the Ceiba population made it clear that they are not willing to surrender their territory, despite the fact that national authorities paint it as a beautiful and prosperous project.”
Supreme Court ruling on ZEDE
On June 14, El Heraldo reported: “The Supreme Court of Justice approved by a majority of votes the establishment of the Special Jurisdiction of the Zones of Employment and Economic Development.”
Yesterday, the Spanish news agency EFE reported: “The National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) announced on Monday [June 20] that it will file legal actions against the Employment and Economic Development Zones (ZEDE) promoted by the government presided over by Juan Orlando Hernández.”
CNTC-Progreso: “The ZEDES suppose to put a state in another state where we do not fit the poor or the peasants.” PBI-Honduras began accompanying the National Union of Rural Workers (CNTC) in May 2018.