This event is virtual and will be held in Spanish with simultaneous English interpretation. To register, click here.
Speakers: Venessa Cardenas Woods, Vice President of the Crawfish Rock Governing Council; Member of the Coordinating Board for Territorial Defense of the Bay Islands in Honduras; Lucía Vijil Saybe, researcher and analyst at Centre for the Study of Democracy (CESPAD); Beth Geglia, public anthropologist focusing on processes of privatization and accumulation in urban and rural settings, tech capitalism, alternative economies, and human rights; Oscar Orlando Hendrix, human rights defender, lawyer, public policy consultant, and member of the Honduran National Movement against the ZEDES
Moderated by: María José Méndez, Junior Fellow at Harvard Society of Fellows; incoming Assistant Professor in the Political Sciences, University of Toronto
In 2013, with the intention of building a “Honduran Hong Kong,” the Honduran government passed a controversial law allowing for the creation of Zones for Employment and Economic Development or ZEDEs—autonomous privatized city-states that can set up their own internal forms of government. While ZEDEs have been praised by libertarians as one of the most innovative special jurisdictions in the world, allowing for sweeping regulatory autonomy from the state, Hondurans have mounted a common front against them. Campesino, indigenous, and black communities, for instance, fear the corporate takeover of their land and decry the neocolonial character of these enclaves. This panel will unfold the dangers that the ZEDEs neoliberal experiment poses to democracy, sovereignty, and black and indigenous lands.
Venessa Cardenas Woods is Vice President of the Crawfish Rock governing council and member of the Coordinating Board for Territorial Defense of the Bay Islands in Honduras. She is a bilingual schoolteacher at the Sandy Bay Primary School and is finishing a M.A. in Educational Management at the Adventist University of Nicaragua.
Lucía Vijil Saybe has a B.A. in International Trade and an M.A. in International Cooperation and Management of Development Projects from the National Autonomous University of Honduras. She is a researcher and analyst at the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CESPAD) on subjects related to land and territory, democracy, gender, and human rights.
Beth Geglia is a public anthropologist focusing on processes of privatization and accumulation in urban and rural settings, tech capitalism, alternative economies, and human rights. She holds a PhD in Anthropology at American University, a Certificate in Documentary Arts from the Duke Center for Documentary Studies, and a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Oscar Orlando Hendrix is a human rights defender, lawyer, public policy consultant, and member of the Honduran National Movement against the ZEDES. Recently, he collaborated with the Honduran Women's Collective (CODEMUH) on a social audit of the Unit for the Investigation of Violent Deaths of Women and Femicides in San Pedro Sula.
María José Méndez is a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and incoming assistant professor in the Political Science department at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on decolonial feminist struggles and the politics of organized criminal violence. She is currently working on a book project that examines the gendered political and economic entanglements of transnational gang violence in the social life of Central America. She is also the chair of Witness for Peace Midwest, a grassroots organization that works for peace and justice in the Americas.
Co-sponsored by the Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective.