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Honduras: at the edge history

Monday, March 21, 2011












This isn't a sentence we thought we would be writing any time soon. Nevertheless, here it is: Honduras may be at the cutting edge of history. Last week, President Porfirio Lobo announced that the country would shut embassies in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Instead, Honduras will open trade offices in Canada, China, India and Singapore. One hand, it's hard to understand the logic of cutting back on relations with Brazil, which is likely to be Latin America's economic powerhouse for the rest of this century. Closing embassies in the other countries seems as much of a political strategy, as an economic one - all belong to ALBA, Hugo Chavez' ideological movement.

At the same time, there is no sense in a poor country wasting economic resources on operations in countries, with which it does little business. Nor are Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador or Venezuela examples of political-economic systems, which are likely to become productive in the near future, in ways that help Honduras.

Instead, Lobo is opting to increase its ties with Canada and Singapore, leaders in productivity, trade and technology, as well as China and India, which almost certainly will be among the world's fastest-growing economies for the foreseeable future. 

A few weeks ago, Lobo said that Honduras was analyzing a program, which would let private companies own entire towns, in which they invest in significant production facilities. Like his trade idea, the concept of private cities is either brilliantly inspired or wildly inflated.

On one hand, it may be a return to the company towns of United Fruit, which gave rise to the original concept of the banana republic. On the other hand, the second poorest country in Latin America has little to lose.


  • We have no idea, but we will keep an eye on Honduras, and its vision of the future