In The Violence of Development website we try to avoid party politics within the seven Central American countries, focussing instead on the issues of development that transcend party boundaries. But in the case of Honduras a progressive government has recently taken over from a government of gangsters and narco-traffickers whose policies promoted only the interests of an elite, an oligarchy, a mafia, policies widely and enthusiastically supported by the US and Canadian governments despite the fact that the former government gained control only through defrauding the democratic votes and wishes of the Honduran people.
In order to foster the notion of development for all, many of the first acts of the new government of President Xiomara Castro have involved the repeal of laws set by the gangsters who ran the former government. Two of the laws repealed are summarised below.
By Martin Mowforth
First, the Honduran hourly employment law entitled employers to hourly contracts, the payment for which could be a matter of agreement between the employer and the individual employee, thereby violating articles 46 – 48 of the Honduran Labour Code. The Honduran Association of Labour Lawyers (AALH) described this law as “worsening working conditions for Hondurans.” A report from the Rights Centre for Women and a Beverage Industry Workers Union revealed that 75 per cent of Honduran women with part-time work have not had access to maternity licenses or have been denied the right to breastfeeding. The AALH stated that, “this situation has benefitted employers who have amassed wealth as a product of exploitation,” and noted that poverty levels had increased by 20 per cent since the enactment of the hourly employment law.
Second, on the 2nd May , the new government repealed a law that authorised self-governing economic zones known as ZEDEs. ZEDEs operate as privately-owned and autonomous cities which serve as special investment districts. Banks and corporations active in ZEDEs appoint their own administrative officials, mostly from the United States, and it is they, rather than the Honduran government, who determine the regulations for taxation, courts, policing, education and healthcare for residents. In 2013 the Honduran Constitution was amended to legitimise ZEDEs despite the fact that they clearly undermine national sovereignty and treat Hondurans as disposable. President Xiomara Castro described the repeal as recovering Honduran sovereignty.
One such ZEDE is called Prospera and is located on a 58 acre site on the island of Roatán. Its US backers have said that they intend to proceed with the ‘development’.
 Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) has now been extradited to the United States accused of drug trafficking and firearms use.