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Honduran communities stand tall against corporate neocolonialism amidst CAFTA showdown

Honduran sovereignty is under threat as Próspera's $11 billion CAFTA claim sparks a fierce fight against privatization and foreign control

In Honduras, communities are fiercely resisting attempts at privatization and foreign exploitation following the repeal of the controversial Economic Development and Employment Zones (ZEDEs) law. This law granted private companies "functional and administrative autonomy," a move seen as jeopardizing Honduran sovereignty and local livelihoods.

Próspera, a Delaware-based corporation, has now triggered a legal challenge under CAFTA, seeking a staggering $11 billion, almost two-thirds of Honduras's 2022 budget. This article dives into the struggle of Honduran communities to reclaim their rights and the impact of this contentious neocolonial project.

Hondurans unite against corporate neocolonialism

The Honduran President Xiomara Castro and Congress took a resolute stand against the contentious ZEDEs law, which empowered private companies with "functional and administrative autonomy." Próspera, having established a zone on Roatán island, launched a CAFTA challenge seeking $11 billion following the law's repeal.

Hondurans perceive this claim as an outright assault on their sovereignty, prompting a massive backlash from indigenous communities, civil organizations, and even business associations. Melinda St. Louis from Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch emphasizes that this claim fundamentally undermines Honduran democracy and could lead to dire consequences, potentially bankrupting the country.

A piece of gold on a map depicting neocolonialism

Upholding sovereignty and empowering communities

For communities like Crawfish Rock, directly impacted by Próspera's ZEDE, the repercussions are dire. Local leader Venessa Cárdenas shares the anxiety and stress of losing control over their land and livelihoods. Próspera's opaque operations, coupled with potential cryptocurrency exploitation, raise concerns about their true intentions.

Despite promising job opportunities, the community contends that the project has inflicted negative psychological and environmental impacts. Hondurans resolutely reject this corporate-driven neocolonial project, demanding a return to democratic governance and proper consultation on any development affecting their communities.

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