Próspera is currently dealing with headwinds in Honduras. Radical elements of the current administration have time and time again sought to discredit and undermine Próspera’s efforts in Honduras — and in so doing have caused significant damages along the way.
This is nothing new. Throughout history, transformative perspectives and endeavors that have significantly impacted humanity have consistently faced initial resistance. This is particularly true when those new perspectives highlight the inherent shortcomings of the prevailing system. These proponents of novel ideas and alternative frameworks often face an uphill battle as they challenge the deeply entrenched ideologies that dominate the intellectual and social landscape of their time.
Próspera’s guiding principle is to emancipate individuals from the constraints of corruption and cronyism that hinder their potential to pursue their aspirations. In doing so, Próspera confronts the vested interests of a corrupt government seeking to maintain power for political gains, as well as unprincipled business figures aiming to wield influence over government decisions to advance their economic interests, circumventing a competitive market economy that would otherwise require them to continuously enhance the value they provide.
Historically, those who challenge conventional wisdom face resistance from various quarters, including political establishments, religious institutions, academic circles, and even the general public. These entities often employ a range of tactics to undermine, discredit, or marginalize the purveyors of such groundbreaking ideas, in an attempt to preserve their own positions of power and influence.
In Honduras, Próspera’s ZEDE structure is a step towards greater individual liberty by further localizing and making more responsive structures of government. But, following the aforementioned historical trends, there is an effort by entrenched parties to thwart that movement.
However, we are committed to Próspera’s guiding principles and believe its mission is worthy of every effort we’re capable of bringing forth in order to achieve it, and that we will ultimately prevail. Often the most important things in life are hard to achieve, and at times face seemingly insurmountable obstacles and difficulties. We call upon those who share our vision and harbor the audacity to court risk, embrace adversity as a catalyst for growth, and carry a pioneering spirit in their hearts to join our effort — not because there are no hardships, but because the struggles which we may encounter are understood to be the very fabric of achieving greatness, making the journey as extraordinary as the destination itself.
- Blocking Access to the National Financial System: The government has blocked access to the Honduran financial system by companies set up in Próspera ZEDE. Due to pressure from the CNBS, institutions in the national financial system no longer open bank accounts to entities formed under Próspera ZEDE law. Próspera ZEDE entities had opened around 60 bank accounts in Honduran banks, but these were all shut down due to governmental pressure. National banks that were interested and even promised funding for projects in Próspera ZEDE will no longer do so due to the political risks created by the government.
- Removing Customs Personnel: Próspera ZEDE has a Customs Post in Roatán through which all tax-exempt imports and exports are to be made. Companies in Próspera ZEDE were using the Customs Post to import materials for development projects such as the DUNA towers. The National Customs Administration has removed the customs personnel required to operate our Customs Post, even though Próspera ZEDE has paid the corresponding fees. The removal of customs personnel took place after U.S. investors based in Próspera ZEDE filed an arbitration claim against the State of Honduras in the ICSID. Without customs personnel, companies in Próspera ZEDE have been illegally forced to pay import taxes, while at the same time the customs administration has taken a discriminatory policy against Próspera because the the customs service to other ZEDEs in Honduras has been maintained.
- Refusing to Open Customs Post in La Ceiba: The Customs Administration is refusing to establish a Customs Post in mainland La Ceiba, where Próspera ZEDE operates a prosperity hub. Honduras Próspera, Inc. secured a Letter of Intent from a multinational manufacturing company wanting to near shore its Chinese plants into La Ceiba, Atlántida, Honduras via the Próspera ZEDE special regime. Próspera received the investors and they expressed to the national government, via the Investment Ministry, that they would invest $25M to transfer their Chinese operations into La Ceiba, if the government confirmed to them that the legal guarantees enshrined in article 329 of the Honduran Constitution and the ZEDE Organic Law would be respected. The government did not care to answer, and the customs administration is refusing to authorize the establishment of a customs post in La Ceiba, which would be required for Honduras to seize this investment opportunity.
- Refusing to Recognize Sales Tax Exemptions: All purchases made to the national Honduran market by companies set up in the Free Zone, ZOLITUR or ZEDE regime are legally exempt from the national sales tax (15%-18%). However, the national tax administration (SAR) has refused to recognize the right of companies operating in Próspera ZEDE to enjoy a sales tax exemption on all purchases made to the national market. Companies in Próspera ZEDE have been illegally forced to pay undue taxes, such as the national sales tax, substantially and unlawfully increasing the costs of development projects pushed forth in Próspera.
- Denying Entry Permits to International Artists: The National Government of Honduras, via the Ministry of Interior, has denied that Próspera ZEDE has the right to authorize public events such as concerts, conferences, conventions, and others, despite the fact that article 329 of the Constitution of Honduras grants Próspera ZEDE autonomy on all areas not related to sovereignty, justice, defense, foreign relations, and electoral matters. Próspera organized an international concert and was unlawfully forced to conduct the concert outside of Próspera ZEDE territory and pay all sorts of fees, permits, and licenses which are not legally required, under threat of the government not allowing the performing artists to enter the country if Próspera did not secure legally unrequired permits.
- Refusing to Issue Municipal Cadaster Certificates: The Municipality of Roatán and the Municipality of Santos Guardiola have illegally refused to issue cadastral records certificates for real estate properties that have been incorporated into the Próspera ZEDE regime. The issuance by the Municipality of a cadastral certificate is a legal right of all property owners. However, the municipalities have illegally denied this right to property owners associated to Próspera ZEDE and hampered the administrative process required to transfer the real estate title seats to the Próspera ZEDE Property Registry.
- Refusal to Register Board and Shareholder Minutes: The Commercial Registry of Honduras (Roatán office) has unlawfully refused to register shareholder and board of directors’ minutes in which commercial and investments matters surrounding the Próspera ZEDE regime have been discussed. The Commercial Registry sees that the shareholders and directors of the company are discussing and authorizing deals under the Próspera ZEDE regime and, because of it, refuses to allow the company to register such minutes in the commercial registry, as required by law.
- Municipality of Roatán Unlawfully Forces Businesses to Pay Undue Taxes and Fees: The Municipality of Roatán has harassed retail businesses operating in Próspera ZEDE by unlawfully demanding that they obtain a Business Operating Permit and pay taxes and fees to the Municipality of Roatán. Próspera ZEDE enjoys a constitutional grant of municipal autonomy that makes it the only public authority with the right regulate and collect taxes from the businesses operating within its jurisdiction.