LatinNews Daily - 26 April 2022

In brief: Honduras’s Castro sanctions repeal of Zedes

*Honduras’s President Xiomara Castro has sanctioned a legislative bill approved on 20 April which repeals the law on so-called employment and economic development zones (Zedes), passed in 2013 under the right-wing Partido Nacional (PN) government led by Porfirio Lobo (2010-2014) and promoted by Lobo’s successor, Juan Orlando Hernández (2014-2022) who was recently extradited to the US to face drug and weapons related charges. Zedes are administrative entities that have the power to autonomously implement their own administrative, judicial, security, and tax systems and were hugely contentious amid concerns that they violate national sovereignty and promote tax evasion. Abolishing the Zedes was an electoral pledge of Castro and her leftist Partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre) which took office at the end of January, following a landslide electoral victory in November 2021, largely based on an anti-corruption platform. There are currently three main Zedes operating in the country: Ciudad Morazán (Cortés department), Orquídea (Colón) and Próspera (Bay Islands). Also on 20 April, the 128-member unicameral congress passed a constitutional reform, which must be ratified next year, associated with repealing the Zedes-related legislation.

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