JPIC Franciscan Family of Honduras Statement on Free Trade Zone Law

Photo: Protest in Roatan against the ZEDE project “Honduras Prospera”. Citizen photography, originally in El Faro

[The Justice Peace and the Integrity of Creation Committee of the Franciscan Family of Honduras is a fellow member of the Franciscan Network on Migration. The new free trade zone law in Honduras continues the current government’s pattern of providing open access to Honduras’ natural resources and exploitation of workers. Speaking out against such “reform” is crucial. This kind of liberal investment environment, promoted as a means to address the “roots of migration,” will likely make things worse in the long run by dislocating communities and undermining labor.]

JPIC STATEMENT OF THE FRANCISCAN FAMILY OF HONDURAS

“We reject the expropriation of the common home” 

Monday, July 12, 2021, Santa Rosa de Copán To all the Honduran people:

The Franciscan Commission on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), faced with the problematic situation confronting the Honduran nation in light of the imposed law of the so-called “Zones of Employment and Economic Development ”(ZEDES), sees a proposal that affects territorial sovereignty and the Rights of Peoples, the care of biodiversity, ecosystems and hydrographic basins; it also deteriorates democracy, nullifies citizen participation and increases the impoverishment of households, including that of native peoples and the rural population.

The magisterium of the church in numeral 2420 of the Catechism states: “The church expresses a moral judgment, in economic and social matters,’when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls demand it’ (GS 76,5).” Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato Si, expresses that, This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will[…]This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22).”

Considering that the Bicentennial of Independence is celebrated this year, we ask our representatives (diputados) to imitate the founders and heroes of this nation, who fought and defended our territory against colonialism and illicit and dishonorable forms of appropriation by ill-intentioned and unscrupulous people against the common good.

Therefore, we express our feelings:

  1. We are concerned about the rights of indigenous peoples who are being violated, threatened and dispossessed, which makes them lose their territories, their livelihoods and their culture.
  1. We reject the decision taken by the National Congress and ratified by the Judiciary, which violates popular sovereignty, and all this again shows the interest of a political and economic class that is taking over the property of the common home in Honduras.

  2. We reject the neo-colonialism of the government, which hands over control with treachery, premeditation, malice and advantage, and without prior consultation with the sovereign Honduran people.
  1. We strongly demand that the National Congress nullify said law, since it is not legitimate, valid or lawful.
  2. We join the courageous mayors, Dioceses, parishes, institutions, professional associations, Universities (UNAH), CNA, ASONOG, FOSDEH, indigenous peoples in resistance (Garífunas, Lencas, Chortis), and many more who have raised their voices against this unpatriotic, harmful and exclusive project.
  1. We call on all brothers and sisters to join us in opposing this project to the detriment of the nation, so that the sovereignty, peace and integrity of our Honduran territory prevail.

The Franciscan JPIC invites the Honduran people, and especially young people “to be God’s today”, as Pope Francis expresses it in Christus Vivit # 64; to be the present and the future of the nation, being people who propose solutions or are active subjects of the transformation of the current reality, and in whose adulthood may well enjoy contributing to the nation.

“Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth, 
who sustains us and governs us and who produces 
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.”
Saint Francis of Assisi

The original untranslated statement in Spanish is available here.  

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