The Libertarian Dream Come True in Honduras???

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The Libertarian Dream Come True in Honduras???

Post by sWamp-Ass on Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:51 am

Honduras Sets Stage for 3 Privately Run Cities

Investors can begin construction in six months on three privately run cities in Honduras that will have their own police, laws, government and tax systems now that the government has signed a memorandum of agreement approving the project.

An international group of investors and government representatives signed the memorandum Tuesday for the project that some say will bring badly needed economic growth to this small Central American country and that at least one detractor describes as "a catastrophe."

The project's aim is to strengthen Honduras' weak government and failing infrastructure, overwhelmed by corruption, drug-related crime and lingering political instability after a 2009 coup.

The project "has the potential to turn Honduras into an engine of wealth," said Carlos Pineda, president of the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships. It can be "a development instrument typical of first world countries."

The "model cities" will have their own judiciary, laws, governments and police forces. They also will be empowered to sign international agreements on trade and investment and set their own immigration policy.

Source/More Here.




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Articles 15 and 69 say:

Article 15.- Other domestic and foreign authorities cannot interfere in matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the RED’s.

Article 69.- The government of the RED?s may apply immigration controls on the entry, stay and departure of people from other States to the RED’s.

15 page Honduran Decree #123-2011 Here!

Honduras signed a deal for an initial investment of 15 million dollars to create the first “Private City” in the country. (Also referred to as “Free Cities”, “Charter Cities”, “Model Cities”, or in Spanish, “RED – Regiones Especiales de Desarollo”, and “Ciudades Modelo”.) The city will be built in Trujillo, in the Department of Colón, where it does not have the full support of the Garifuna people, as they fear that the loss of their land may be on the agenda.

Carlos Pineda, the president of Coalinza, stated that this was not just an agreement, but the most important project for the development of the country in 50 years.

Michael Strong, an executive with the MKG Group that was granted this project, stated that the objective is to create a secure and prosperous community for Hondurans.

The development of the physical infrastructure laid out in phase one of the project will result in 5,000 new jobs, as well as 15,000 indirect new jobs.

Juan Hernández, the President of the Honduran National Congress, stated that this is a giant step forward for the country. Last July, the Honduras Congress passed Decree #123-2011, which in a nutshell, takes care of all constitutional issues related to the creation of these RED zones, or model cities, as we refer to them in Honduras.

One of the case studies that helped get this project approved, was performed on Mauritius, a small island nation of the southeast coast of Africa, which became independent from the United Kingdom in 1968. Mauritius and Honduras established diplomatic relations in September of 2011, in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas on how it transformed itself into one of the most successful economies in Africa from a poor, sugar dependent economy. The World Bank, in 2011, ranked Mauritius number 21 out of 187 countries, ahead of Switzerland, France, and Chile. (Honduras is ranked number 128).



Maritius
Maritius was able to transform itself, thanks to the model city blueprint, which calls for a strategy of growth based on international trade and strong and reliable legal institutions. The courts are subject to review by appeal to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, thus providing credibility for investors.
Source/More Here/ HondurasNews

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Re: The Libertarian Dream Come True in Honduras???

Post by sWamp-Ass on Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:03 am

Author of Honduras start-up city project says he is ready to quit

Blow to plan's credibility as NYU professor Paul Romer says he has been unable to act as its guarantor and watchdog
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Jonathan Watts, Latin America correspondent
The Guardian, Saturday 8 September 2012

Plans to create a neo-liberal start-up city in Honduras with its own laws, tax rules and police force suffered a setback on Friday when the economic guru who inspired the project said he has been unable to act as its guarantor and watchdog.

Paul Romer, an influential professor at New York University, is seen as crucial to the credibility of the plan, which aims to transform enclaves in the Central American nation into magnets for investors similar to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore.

But days after the deal was announced, Romer said he had not been given the powers and information necessary to fulfil his role as chairman of the transparency commission, which is meant to ensure governance of the new development zones.

Romer said he and four other international figures were appointed by presidential decree to the commission, which has wide-ranging powers to appoint and fire governors, nominate judges and hire auditors in the proposed new zones. But the five will issue a statement distancing themselves from this week's announcement and calling into question the legality of their appointment, which they say has not been published in the official gazette as required by Honduran law, ostensibly because of a challenge in the constitutional court.

"Thus the conditions have not existed to permit the transparency commission to play the role envisioned for this ambitious and important project," they write in an open letter to President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, to be released online. "As you continue to work to attract foreign investment ... in this period of uncertainty, we feel it would be wise to release you from any sense of obligation to proceed with publication of the decree and thus with our formal appointment."

Romer said he was surprised to hear the announcement this week that the Honduran government had signed a $14m memorandum of understanding with the business consortium NKG. "We're not involved in any discussions with anyone involved in this deal. Our statement is an attempt to clarify to the public what our role is. At the moment the commission does not exist, we do not have any information, or means to check or look into any aspect of the negotiation... We cannot serve the guarantor or endorser function the commission was that supposed to provide."The five commission members said they continued to support the project and were willing to work with the government in the future. But their lack of involvement at this initial state is likely to alarm potential investors.

The Honduran administration said the issue was overblown. "This was not a legally binding agreement. It was a memorandum of understanding," said presidential adviser, Octavio Sanchez.

"We want the area to become a successful place so the models that work there can be adopted elsewhere. It's not an isolated island of success. It is an inspiration for others to follow. It is a showcase."

Government officials said earlier this week that the project was the most important in Honduras for 50 years and would start in October. However, Sanchez said that everything must await a ruling by the Supreme Court, which could take anything from a week to 10 years.

Romer's plans to build "charter cities" – which are envisaged as ideal locations for wealth creation – have long been controversial. Critics fear they may become states-within-states for a privileged elite, worsening inequality and bypassing labour and environmental laws.

But Honduras' new plan may go a step further, due to the influence of radical libertarians who are now talking of creating "private cities".

Romer appeared unsure what direction the government was taking: "I don't know what people mean when they refer to private cities. But if it suggests that there will be no institutions or government, then I fear that misses the essential requirement for successful urbanisation. I would be concerned about how a private attempt to provide things like policing services could be held accountable."

Source/More Here.

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Re: The Libertarian Dream Come True in Honduras???

Post by sWamp-Ass on Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:07 am



Honduras is set to host one of the world's most radical neo-liberal economic experiments under a plan to build from scratch the rules, roads and rafters of a "charter city" for foreign investors.

The Central American nation hopes the plan for model development zones, which will have their own laws, tax system, judiciary and police, will emulate the economic success of city states such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

But even as the government signed a "memorandum of understanding" with a group of international investors on Tuesday, opponents tried to lodge a suit at the supreme court for the arrangement to be declared illegal because the "state within a state" risked undermining national laws, sidestepping labour rights, worsening inequality and creating a modern-day enclave that impinged upon the territory of indigenous groups.

The Honduran president, Porfirio Lobo – a landowner from the rightwing National party – has given his full backing to the plan, which was inspired by US economic advisers.

During the signing ceremony, government officials said the initial $14m phase of the project would start in October and create 5,000 jobs in the first six months and 40 times that number in the future – a major incentive in a country where one in four of the workforce are unemployed.

"This is the most important project in half a century for Honduras," said Carlos Pineda, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships, which represented the government at the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the business consortium NKG.

Details of the arrangement remain sketchy. Three possible locations were mentioned – Sula valley, Agalta valley and the southern region of Honduras – and the initial investments seemed small compared to the scale of the ambition.

The plan appears to have been thrown together in the space of less than a year, partly to boost the economy and partly to make Honduras more attractive to foreign investors who fear crime (Honduras has the world's highest murder rate) and political instability (Lobo was elected following a coup d'etat in 2009).

It is the realisation of a proposal for "charter cities" proposed by the US economist Paul Romer, a graduate of the University of Chicago school of economics, who is currently professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Citing Hong Kong as an example, Romer argues that cities based on a "charter" of strong, pro-business laws and institutions are the key to rapid growth, particularly when they can act as international gateways to larger regions such as China. In countries that lack such fundamentals at a state level, he proposes the creation of special zones where they can be established from nothing.

Soon after Romer visited Tegucigalpa at the start of the year, the Honduran congress approved an enabling bill for the creation of economic development zones. Lobo has reportedly taken fact-finding delegations to Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai to look at possible models.

None of those cities, however, attempted the urbanisation from scratch now being eyed in Honduras.

Proponents say this is an advantage because the governance systems and rights can be designed. "It's easier to create something new that will be healthy and safe than to go and deal with the serious problems that exist across the whole nation," said Mark Klugman, a government adviser.

But the idea has provoked controversy in a country already suffering from one of the worst levels of inequality in the world.

Critics say it will allow a foreign elite to set up a low-tax, sympathetically regulated enclave where they can skirt labour standards and environmental rules.

"This would violate the rights of every citizen because it means the cession of part of our territory to a city that would have its own police, its own juridical power, and its own tax system," said Sandra Marybel Sanchez, who joined a group of protesters who tried to lodge an appeal at the supreme court.

Ismael Moreno, a correspondent for the leftwing Nicaraguan magazine Envio, compared the charter cities to the banana enclaves, which were run on behalf of a foreign elite. He also spelled out the environmental risks, particularly if one of the development sites is the Sico valley, an area of virgin forest on the Mosquito Coast.

"This model city would end up eliminating the last agricultural frontier left to us," he wrote.

Indigenous and ethnic groups also expressed hostility to the move. Miriam Miranda, president of the Fraternal Black Organisation of Honduras, said a project in the Puerto Castilla – close to one of the three sites – would threaten the continuity of the Garifuna people and culture.

Michael Strong, an NKG executive, insisted, however, that the project would be a driver for poverty elimination. "The main goal of our project is to create the basis for a safe and prosperous future for Hondurans," he was quoted as saying by local media.
Source/More Here.

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