Government of Honduras sued by billionaires after trying to govern itself

Originally published at: Government of Honduras sued by billionaires after trying to govern itself | Boing Boing


The Jacobin piece linked at the end is a great explainer of these neocolonial, corporate libertarian abuses.

Honduras Próspera is a US company started by a group of extreme libertarians, backed by billionaire Peter Thiel and former World Bank chief economist Paul Romer. The idea was simple. The group would establish a private government on the Honduran island of Roatán, allowing them to implement a libertarian free market utopia — the success of which, they hoped, would undermine big government everywhere. . .

for billionaires like Thiel, the appeal of the SEZ is slightly different. If SEZs could be established all over the world, complete with low taxes and corporate-friendly regulation, investment could be sucked out of social democratic states and into these free market paradises.

The zone is, in other words, a powerful disciplining tool that can be used to bludgeon states into adopting neoliberal policies.

Thiel and others sought to apply this logic to the tourist hotspot of Roatán in Honduras. After a US-backed coup in 2009, the Honduran government passed a 2013 law establishing special economic zones, known by their Spanish acronym, ZEDEs. This law allowed for the creation of autonomous areas within the territory of Honduras, complete with their own political and judicial systems, low taxes, and business-friendly regulation.

And let’s not forget who appears to have aided and abetted the military coup that installed a regime that fostered such practices:


Honduras should consider importing some bears. That usually solves the Galt’s Gulch problem.

For those confused about these rugged individualists availing themselves of the mechanisms of the bad ol’ state, the obligatory Kim Stanley Robinson quote:

That’s libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.

When military colonialism is too blunt and old-fashioned for the shareholder class, there’s always legal colonialism (another innovation by the tobacco industry):


I spent a fair amount of time working on Roatan during a time when the central government was largely nonexistant. It sounds like these assholes want that to be the permanant state of affairs. I can testify that for anyone not very very wealthy, it was hell. Fuck them.


Interesting, what sort work did you do on it?


He who has the gold, makes the rules. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth::face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


Pediatrician to the masses.


Ah, right. Sorry, I didn’t realize on meant in (at least i think it did).


It’s an island, so usually “on” is used.


… “colony” is such an ugly word :face_with_monocle:


To certain extent until the guards will decide to help themselves to the gold without the guarding duty.


Kind of speaks to why terminal states of civil war is good for the global investor class. He who controls debt controls everything.


I didn’t know this about Roatan. Ow, wow… it’s like an early “Locas” plot (I guess “Mechanics”?) from Love & Rockets, in which a tycoon takes over an island nation (“it’s only an island from the water”). Also IIRC the tycoon happens to bear some resemblance to Steve Bannon. I guess that was from 40 or so years ago! If life imitates art, well… not to give the story details away, but it ends well for the local citizenry.


And don’t forget to ramp up your arms manufacturing stocks just prior to each conflict!

Ka-Ching Podcast GIF by badcrypto


It’s a little vague how the Iron Bank of Bravos, er, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes enforces its judgements, but besides financial fuckery, I guess an army in ships shouldn’t be ruled out.


I was wondering the same thing. Like WTF kind of Kangaroo Court is that…


Governments shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily tear up agreements without some penalty, but it seems a little raw to enforce an agreement signed by an illegitimate coup d’état installed by outside force.

(“Hey Mr. US Trade Representative, you installed that government, so it’s your liability.”)


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