An idea that first appeared to be progressive may actually set Honduras back hundreds of years.
The concept: the privately-run city, with its own police and tax system.
Honduras president Porfirio Lobo saw the idea as a way to attract foreign investment and create jobs, but the country's top court has ruled that it's unconstitutional because it violates the nation's very sovereignty.
The BBC reports:
"This is great news for the Honduran people. This decision has prevented the country going back into a feudal system that was in place 1,000 years ago," said lawyer Fredin Funez.
The government proposal to create some 20 "special development zones - as the new cities were officially called - was approved by Congress last year.
The inspiration for the project was Singapore, a wealthy southeastern Asian city-state and island situated between Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Macau and Hong Kong, two special administrative regions controlled by China.
The difference here, of course, is that Honduras -- a Central American nation located between El Salvador and Nicaragua -- is not an island nor a special administrative entity. It's a nation like any other, so carving up its territory to hand over to private interests is the geopolitical equivalent of "selling out."
The fact that Honduras suffers from extreme violence -- its murder rate is the highest in the world -- and an ongoing war between gangs and government makes such a decision appear all the more suspicious and desperate.
Photo: Ian Mackenzie/Flickr