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From: The Socialist issue 733, 12 September 2012: Build a 24-hour general strike

Search site for keywords: Honduras

Honduras: Privatised cities in the global economy

John Sharpe

The Honduran government has agreed to hand over land to international finance to build three new privately run cities from scratch. These cities will have their own laws, courts, police, taxes and immigration rules. Work is planned to start building these states within a state early next year.

Edmundo Oreilana, a former attorney general and a member of the Honduran congress predicted these "charter cities" would allow multinational companies to set up protectorates. He told a Honduran newspaper: "We are going to see long eternal queues like we see in Palestine for people to go to work in Israel."

That the government has said these cities can issue identity cards reinforces that view. Workers will be reduced to migrant labour in their own country.

Predatory foreign capital will demand the crushing of workers' rights, the right to organise, the right to strike. While 65% of the eight million-strong population live below the poverty line, wages and conditions will be driven down still further.

Honduras is already one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world; ten families control 90% of the economy.

Pepe Lobo, president of Honduras and wealthy landowner, came to power in November 2009 after stitched up elections, which followed a military coup in June of that year. He has already granted massive concessions to international big business.

Lobo has appointed "globally respected international figures" to a "transparency commision" that will appoint city governors.

They include extreme neoliberal 'Chicago Boy' economist Paul Romer (who dreamt up the whole scheme in the first place but is now getting cold feet), a retired Singapore former Brigadier General (Singapore is a city state), a banker and a consultant from Bain and Co (founded by US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney).

These free-market, neocolonial enclaves will revive memories of the Standard Fruit Company and the United Fruit Company which dominated Honduras for much of the 20th century.

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