The End of Dreaming in Honduras

By: Graham Brown - Jan 1, 2014, 9:15 pm

EspañolI woke up thinking about where we will be a year from now, where my family and I will be, what will be happening with the ZEDEs, and what will be happening in Honduras. For us as a family, 2013 was all about getting to Honduras, finding the right job, the right connections, finding the money. As regular blog readers will know, this push was a success. I arrived here two months ago, and as the year turns we find ourselves mostly settled in, and have started to find our way around the space and the culture.

Sunrise in Honduras. Source: Honduras is Great

Now the focus is on doing everything possible to actually make the ZEDE projects happen. Beautiful though Honduras is, and pleasant though its people are, we are here because of the exciting prospect of these LEAP zones coming to fruition. If they don’t happen, this year and the last will have been partially wasted. Therefore, the goal of this year is to use what resources we have, mostly time and wits, in assisting the people who will turn the ZEDEs into reality.

One awesome thing about this project is that it is not at all zero-sum. Because these ideas — autonomous zones and competitive governance — are at the cutting edge of innovation in the World today, no one is competing for an existing resource. We are not trying to push anyone out of a market; we are making a new market. The value is in the paradigm shift.

So 2014 is setting up to be a year of creation. If in twelve months’ time there are established ZEDEs that are starting to create jobs and better lives for people, the feeling of gratification will be immense for all involved. On the other hand, if the project grinds to a halt, through lack of resources or will, the frustration will be immense.

That frustration will not just be in us. If you read this blog, you probably want this thing to happen as well. There are many motives out there; some people want the opportunity to reside somewhere that offers a touch more personal liberty, others want to see development, alleviation of poverty and relief from violence. Some people are looking for business and career opportunities, and many more, like us, want to see a combination of all these things.

So can an individual or small family really make a difference? Can we who dream of cities really push this along? The answer is clearly yes. History is littered with stories of individuals and small groups that have been notable parts of big changes.

You might read this and think “yes, I want to see this happen, but what can I actually do?” In creating strategies here, one thing should be remembered: this idea was created by Hondurans for Hondurans, with specific goals in mind. These are zones for employment and economic growth. If you can show the pro-ZEDE politicos in Honduras how your intentions and contributions can make those two things happen, it gives them more leverage to make the zones a reality. The LEAP zones will need everything: restaurants, gas stations, software developers, innovators, and entrepreneurs of all kinds — even inquisitive individuals spending tourist dollars.

If people, both Hondurans and outsiders, can show how the ZEDEs can bring value, be it in the form of money, skills, or ideas, to Honduras, then the ZEDEs become one-step closer to happening. After all, investment value is the same whether it’s split between a hundred eager individuals or one big developer (although there is no reason we can’t have both). A thick folder of business plans, letters of intent, or even retirement plans, will make an impressive thud when it hits a government desk in Tegucigalpa.

The years of dreaming have come to an end; now is the year for action. Otherwise, the dreams will be washed away.

This article first appeared on and appears here with permission.

Graham Brown

Graham is the author of the Dreams of Cities blog and writes about issues related to start up cities and similar concepts. He hails from the United Kingdom and currently resides in Brazil. Follow @A14R4.