Charter Cities: Colonies of the Future

The future of colonization is here. Well, not right here…it’s in Honduras.

A recent article that appeared on Al Jazeera’s web site unearthed a topic that continues to take shape following a 2009 coup: charter cities.

Fans of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine will really enjoy reading this article, much the same way I make myself watch the Hostel franchise.

The “Honduran Hong Kong”

Author Belen Fernandez’s discussion centers on the creation of privately run cities subject to their own laws, elections, financial stability (read: currency) and security. Fernandez points to a previous article that ran in The Economist in late 2011 comparing Honduran charter cities to the creation of the Hong Kong colony under British rule.

To many readers, and possibly some Hong Kong residents, this may appear at first blush to not be that horrible of an idea. The creation of city-states may allow people to more easily choose where to live while staying within their home country rather than changing nationality. Again, some Hong Kong residents may have strong opinions about this theory on living as a “multinational” as well.

The wrinkle, or seismic shift depending on your point of view, in this proposal for Honduras is that each charter city would theoretically be run by larger countries that are best suited to basically scare the host nation into acceptance of their new internal neighbor.


What strikes me in this discussion is the grammar that has been adopted by those proposing this theory. “Charter city” seems to have replaced “colony” in these 21st century discussions. What else would you term a city run by a foreign nation within the borders of another country?

Financial and political colonization are not new concepts. Nations have used their military, funding and presence to colonize foreign lands since borders existed.

The scary part here is the possibility that colonization could be seen as the answer to a nation in turmoil. What gives a “country that knows better” the right to rule another?

I know there are many countries that continue colonization around the world including my own, however the sanitary nature of this proposal smacks heavily of the planning that went into fostering the necessary unrest.

It’s a heavy topic so here’s a lighter spin on colonization:


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