Honduras economic development zones worry residents, experts

SAN MARCOS DE COLON, Honduras (AP) — Honduras’ push to form semi-autonomous development zones aimed at spurring investment are raising concerns among members of neighboring communities and experts. They fear the zones could operate as mini-states, with power to expropriate nearby property and impose their own laws. Those pushing the zones include President Juan Orlando Hernández and international libertarian groups. They say the streamlined processes and regulation will lure job-creating investment. Honduras’ congress passed the law allowing their creation in 2013, but they are now gaining new attention. The United Nations warned that the zones could pose risks to peoples’ rights.