The designated LEAP zones of Honduras

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NeWay Capital plans to create seven ZEDEs in Honduras as part of its Honduras Prospera platform. These ZEDEs are intended to have world-class governance and become the industrial centres of Honduras with the goal of creating surplus well-paying jobs for Hondurans and uplifting them from third world poverty into the ranks of the world’s richest and most developed countries.

As of May 31, 2020; they are as follows:

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(1) Prospera in Roatan — Resort city; almost 70,000 residents in the island

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Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands in the Caribbean. A new city named Prospera will be constructed there out of scratch. The city’s defining characteristic will be that of a resort city like Cancun in Mexico, but as a ZEDE, it will also serve as an industrial centre to create factory jobs for Hondurans. The ZEDE will take about 10 years to develop into a full-fledged city.

Roatan is connected to the mainland by a ferry. One can reach La Ceiba — a port city across the channel in Honduras.

The island is tropical paradise with great sandy beaches and sunshine throughout the year. An added benefit of settling there is that this island is outside the Hurricane Corridor—which includes most of Honduras. By fault of being situated at the Central American tropics, Honduras is extremely prone to devastating hurricanes every couple of years. However those who live in Roatan are fortunate to experience a hurricane only once every 26 years.

(2) La Ceiba in Atlandida — Port city with 200,000 residents

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La Ceiba is a port city on the northern coast of Honduras. The first ZEDE Prospera is right across the channel from it. It is the third largest city in Honduras, and is an extremely popular tourist destination noted for its vibrant nightlife, annual carnivals, beaches, and a variety of parks and recreational areas in and around the city.

La Ceiba is the second most important port in the country after Puerto Cortes. An industrial park will be created there to generate employment for the residents, and this should develop into a new core of the city within 10 years—just like what New Delhi is to Old Delhi. After it gets developed, La Ceiba will turn into the Amsterdam of Honduras as an economic powerhouse and party capital.

The city has a tropical rainforest climate with substantial rainfall throughout the year. La Ceiba is the second wettest city in Central America — second only to Colon in Panama among urbanised areas with more than 100,000 people.

(3) Puerto Cortes in Cortes — Port city with 200,000 residents

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Puerto Cortes is a port city in the northern coast of Honduras. It is the most important port in Honduras; with the largest seaport in Central America. It has a great bay, good beaches, and tremendous tourism potential if developed well. It can easily become the Miami of Honduras. Even though the ZEDE so far hasn’t been announced, I’m pretty sure that an industrial park will be built there to generate employment for the locals and will develop into a satellite city.

(4) Puerto Castilla in Colon — Village with 600 residents

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Puerto Castilla is a coastal village in Northern Honduras which used to be a port city during its heyday as the base of an oligopolic crony corporatist banana company. This ended in the 1930s when the base was closed and the port and most of its population were moved east on the peninsula in the 1940s.

Right now, it’s the site of a Honduran naval base, as well as the site of a container port for Dole fresh fruit products. Vast African Oil Palm plantations now dot the area.

Puerto Castilla lies on the south side of a peninsula sheltering Trujillo Bay. It is a deep-water port which has future possibility for development of a major port for Honduras. As a ZEDE, it has the potential to become the Dubai of the Caribbean.

Puerto Castilla has a tropical rainforest climate and is quite wet throughout the year.

(5) Cuyamel in Cortes — Coastal town with 6000 residents

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The town is situated at the banks of the Cuyamel River and derives its namesake from it. It was founded by an early 19th century crony corporatist banana company named Cuyamel Fruit Company and had its heyday as the company’s base. Cuyamel has a tropical rainforest climate and is quite wet throughout the year.

Developed well under the ZEDE management, Cuyamel has the potential to be to Honduras what New Orleans was to the Gulf Coast of USA during its heyday — a major economic hub and cultural capital in the country.

(6) San Pedro Sula in Cortes — Major city with almost 1.5 million residents

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San Pedro Sula is the primary industrial centre and second largest city of Honduras. While richer than most of Honduras, the city is still poverty-stricken, and ridden with crime, significant gang activity, massive unemployment, broken families; and infested with slums ruled by transnational street gangs — Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street Gang.

San Pedro Sula is where most of the country’s factories and financial companies are located. The city generates about two thirds of Honduras’ economic output. It is also a major operational and strategic distributional point for the narcotics trade and illegal arms trade. San Pedro Sula is one of the murder capitals of the world, surpassed only by Caracas in Venezuela.

In essence, the city perfectly encapsulates what Mumbai was to India in the 90s. San Pedro Sula has a tropical rainforest climate with year-round high humidity and plenty of rainfall throughout the year.

I’m pretty sure that an industrial park will be developed adjacent to the present city with plans to develop it into a new core of the city in 10 years. So basically we will have the Honduran-managed and private corporation-managed cities co-existing side by side as an example to the world on the difference private governance makes.

San Pedro Sula is a mess but with ZEDE management, it can become Honduras’ answer to New York (minus the port).

(7) Amapala in Valle — Coastal town with almost 13,000 residents

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Amapala is a municipality comprised of a bunch of islands in the Gulf of Fonseca in southern Honduras. It is directly across the mainland from Zacate Grande in the department of Valle. The island has a natural deep channel and despite lacking modern infrastructure, has long served as the main Honduran port in the Pacific Ocean.

Amapala had its heyday as a free port which exported large quantities of gold, silver, and other ores during the 19th century. However it fell into ruin and lost its utility in the end of the century when it was replaced in the mainland by the port of San Lorenzo in the mainland.

Amapala has a tropical dry climate year-round and ranks high in humidity. Its location is ideal for a port city. It is strategically situated in the Gulf of Fonseca between El Salvador and Nicaragua.

If developed as a ZEDE, Amapala has the potential to become the Singapore of Central America. There are no competitors in the neighborhood capable of challenging the city. I don’t know which industries will set up shop there, but it will certainly develop into a major international port city, tourist hub, and important financial centre (once the population becomes educated).

Catholic | Classical liberal | Man of Honor | Indian immigrant to USA

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