I was really disappointed with your article I found at Huffington Post.
Clever, huh? No. More like stupid. The problem is that the law was hastily approved — as are most controversial laws in Honduras. And it was done so out of desperation, because the Lobo administration has not figured out how to pay off its financial obligations to its creditors and public employees. Also, the details of the law have not been made public, and so there are a lot of unanswered questions as to how it would be implemented.
The law has already created a furor in Honduras, sparking new accusations that the government is essentially moving to sell off Honduras in piecemeal fashion (like with the “Model Cities” initiative), and that those who would benefit would not be the Honduran people but rather a few well-positioned officials who would undoubtedly line their pockets with millions of dollars in bribes and commissions. The country would remain indebted, as it currently is (or more). In the meantime, it would open itself for additional exploitation (some might use the word “rape”) by foreigners. The losers? Yeah.
As an aside, although I was glad to see your opposition to Zelaya’s dictatorial attitude, and his attempt to usurp power completely. I did part ways with your concession to the word “coup”. The Honduran constitution made advocacy of presidential re-election a condition that caused the immediate and automatic removal from any government office of the advocate of same. That meant he was a usurper and by continuing to act as president, it was HIS coup, and it is the point most define-able as such.
Your comments there did not tell the whole story. They did not mention that Hondurans involved in planning the second go-round in this project visited model cities in Korea and elsewhere to study their approach to crawling out of poverty. You did not mention the fact that anyone investing in these model cities in special zones will have to hire a minimum percentage of Hondurans for any enterprise.
You especially did not mention that ANY HONDURAN CITY THAT WANTS TO can become one of these model cities themselves just by voting in a referendum.
You did not mention the especially revealing fact that one of the objections raised by representatives of their respective departamentos, was the fear that all their businessmen would abandon them, preferring to live in a zone that was truly open for business and not for “tips” and paperwork and other arbitrary measures that steal productivity away from those who treat their employees fairly.
In fact, your very objection would be a good reason to abolish all of the currently open-for-business free zones along the coast, where FOREIGN businesses already own lots of production capital goods tarriff-free, providing a great number of jobs for Honduran citizens, with little objection.
In fact Honduras followed a plan before doing this, that I myself had suggested during the time Lobo was asking for suggestions on how Honduras could crawl out from under the burden of poverty. My suggestion was to look to countries that have done it. Some missionaries who live in Chile have told me that the changes have been dramatic. South Korea is one of the riches countries in the world, North Korea one of the poorest. Hong Kong is an island of luxury surrounding by an ocean of poor, still struggling under the heavy burden of central control.
And you did not mention that a great many Hondurans enthusiastically support this initiative. They see relief from economic doldrums in this, because there is reality in it. Foreign investment is only a small part of this story. The investment that comes in will only be seed money –if the project can be protected from meddling by people who think only a government can do good things for the poor.
By the way, how’s that workin’ out for ya? Chavez not only refused to encourage foreign investment, he kicked out what there was and started scaring off so many of his own productive citizens that he had to clamp down with currency controls. What a champion for the poor! How’s that working out for poor Venezuelans?
And they criticize about crime? You know how government’s central planners fixed that in murderous Caracas, don’t you? They stopped reporting the numbers altogether!
And wow, look at the United States and Lyndon Johnsons’ War on poverty and Roosevelts’ freedom from want. How’s that working out for us in the United States? Bah. Keep that change and give me the one Honduras is now working on. My wife has made a catracho out of me and I plan to get my passport and retire to Honduras.
And nobody can say “Hondurans” are against this, afraid of that, blah blah, because we KNOW that the representatives of the Honduran people voted OVERWHELMINGLY in favor of this project.
In summary this is good for Honduras, I’m sure of it, because there was some good roots going into it.
If only we can keep it free from this misguided anti-capitalist meme that has deceived so many.
I was so proud, God help me, in 2009, that I had married a girl from Honduras, when they stood up to the piti-Chavez. I am excited for Honduras again now, and if nothing else comes of this, it still is a pleasure because so many congressmen voted for it.
- Honduras travelers visit Rotary (mysouthwestga.com)