Making this post as a place to dump various things I learn while researching Prospera. Feel free to discuss or dump other things that you find interesting.

Epistemic status: extremely low confidence. I'm mostly just taking info from Wikipedia, which might be a biased source.

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Here's a thought:

Suppose Prospera is successful.

Then it's gonna attract/create a bunch of big companies in Honduras, right?

And those big companies would have Interests about how things work in Honduras in general (not just in Prospera), and they might use corruption, lobbying, etc., to implement those interests, right?

So really it's sort of a race, between the speed at which Prospera's innovation can show Honduras how to be less exploitable/corrupt, vs the speed at which Prospera leads to powerful entities emerging?

Or maybe this is not gonna make a big dent? I should research the biggest companies in Honduras.

Honduras has a murder rate that is 45 times higher than Denmark, a life expectancy that is 10 years shorter than Denmark, a TFR of 2.4, vs 1.7 for Denmark. Its GDP PPP per capita is ~10% of that of Denmark.

I cannot immediately find any info on Honduras' position on factory farming, and I think they do not regulate AI capabilities research.

Honduras has a population of 10 million.

I can't tell what is going on here, but it seems important?

This tweet by ?a lawyer for Prospera? was retweeted by the CEO for Prospera:

It claims:

Polling shows that only around 3% of the Honduran electorate opposed ZEDEs; 75%-97% of Hondurans either support them, don't care, or are focused on bettering their lives through whatever opportunities present themselves.

Struggling to find the source of this number.

We got a response:

2/7 The first hint that most Hondurans saw through the anti-ZEDE astroturfing came from Television polling in 2021. That polling indicated ~80% of Hondurans believed the opposition to ZEDEs was purely political.

Issue is I don't know much about Honduran television polls.

3/7 Later, between January and February 2022, Gallup did a rare scientific post-election poll of 1222 Honduran citizens with a 95% confidence level (+/-2.8%) to assess what was really on their mind regarding ZEDEs.

4/7 That polling found that only 3% cited opposition to ZEDEs as driving the vote for Xiomara Castro, negligible enough to be within the margin of error itself. It was around the same number of Hondurans (2%) who voted "to promote socialism in Honduras."

But this was asking for the main factor, so that doesn't mean they were saying people aren't opposed to ZEDEs, only that people don't think it's the main thing.

5/7 Around the same time, the 3% number was corroborated by a Libre-sympathetic poll, in which only 3.1% of respondents cited ZEDEs as the main damage done by the prior administration. It is a fair inference that Anti-ZEDE sentiment possessed 3% of the Honduran electorate.

Same problem as before.

6/7 So what did Hondurans really think about ZEDEs? At supermajority levels consistent with the TV polling cited at the beginning, only now at a 95% confidence level, Hondurans overwhelmingly emphasized the need for protecting foreign investment & protecting ZEDE jobs.

Here, they compared things like whether the administration should prioritize "generating jobs" over "repealing or reforming ZEDE law". I suppose the purpose of doing this sort of forced-choice situation is to prevent people from going "I want everything good but I don't want anything bad in order to achieve it". Which on the one hand is reasonable for pragmatic purposes as you can't have good stuff without costs. But on the other hand, isn't part of Hondura's problem that people keep going "We want everything good but not anything bad"?

7/7 The anti-ZEDE "movement" in Honduras is a mythological creature. It was concocted by foreign and domestic ideologues and political manipulators during an election season as the preferred banner of the tiny fringe of those who already favored radical political goals.

I don't understand how anti-ZEDE movements makes for a good banner for political manipulation if it is so unpopular. I think the "We want everything good but not anything bad" model works better.

Oh it seems like many of these things have been discussed by Scott too. I guess I should catch up to his latest writings on Prospera, and re-read the older ones.

Prospera is financed by Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen.

ZEDE law was introduced by Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

After the military did a coup in 2009, the military ran an election, claiming that Porfirio Lobo Sosa received 57% of the vote.

Supposedly, this did not happen entirely peacefully:

Mayors were requested by the army to provide lists of "enemies" (Spanish: enemigos) of the electoral process in order to "neutralise" them (Spanish: neutralizarlos).[23]

Amnesty International protested to the Honduran de facto government about violations of habeas corpus on 28 and 29 November.[24] One of the people who were disappeared was Jensys Mario Umanzor Gutierrez, last seen in police detention early on the morning of 30 November. Amnesty International (AI) stated that no courts, including the Supreme Court, were available to receive a petition for habeas corpus. AI also referred to two men arrested under terrorism charges and beaten, and 14 minors detained under decree PCM-M-016-2009[8] for gathering in groups of more than four persons, and later freed without charges.[24] AI also said that human rights organizations in Honduras "suffered attacks and acts of intimidation".[24]

In addition to introducing ZEDE law, Porfirio Lobo Sosa banned the morning-after pill. His wife was incarcerated for stealing $4 million from the state.

The president and the national congress in Honduras are elected separately. The national congress uses proportional representation.

The ZEDE law that permits Prospera to be a thing was repealed by Xiomara Castro.

Around 2009, Manuel Zelaya attempted to hold a non-binding poll about whether they should convene a constitutional assembly. The courts and other powerful authorities opposed it and declared it illegal, yet he continued to try, leading to the courts ordering a coup and removing him from power.

Xiomara Castro is his wife, and was elected in 2022.

It needs to be mentioned that Prospera is still operating despite this fact, arguing about 50 years guaranteed by the legal stability agreement. The zone was not shut down in practice, the conflict about repeal is legal in nature, perhaps it may result in more court cases.

Xiomara Castro is in conflict with the courts:

Xiomara Castro inherited a deeply corrupt state apparatus, leading her to choose to extradite her predecessor Juan Orlando Hernández to the United States for his links to drug trafficking, rather than hand him over to the Honduran justice system. Her government asked for UN help in setting up an international commission to fight corruption.

Does anyone know about the UN track record in corruption? Is it good that she appeals to them? Or maybe, it is sus because the UN is bad? I have literally no idea what's going on here

Xiomara Castro made Honduras cut ties with Taiwan and establish a relationship with China.

In 2017, supposedly this happened:

The Alliance won the election in the pre-election polls, and led in the preliminary results. However, a general blackout interrupted the publication of the count for 36 hours; when it was restarted, the trend was reversed and President Juan Orlando Hernández was re-elected, leading to accusations of fraud. The ensuing demonstrations were suppressed by the government, leaving 23 people dead, hundreds injured and more than 1,350 detained.