Bitcoin-friendly Próspera hits back at controversy in The Guardian

According to reports, Prospera, a crypto-friendly charter town in Honduras, has reacted to criticisms from Crawfish Rock residents about its plans for expansion.

The Guardian published a July 5th article about the special economic zone. It was described as an island paradise that offers low taxes/fiscal liability, luxury homes, and crypto-friendly regulation. However, some Crawfish Rock residents have reacted negatively to the news.

Residents are concerned about being forced from their homes by Prospera’s expansion plans. The article describes the headquarters of the project as “amid the landscape scarred and deep holes dug to support the foundation of the next stage of construction.”

This is yet another attack on the Bitcoin-loving city. It has been battling the Honduran government since April when it removed a Zones for Employment and Economic Development legislation (ZEDEs), which was a crucial piece of legislation that would have allowed it to operate as a fully autonomous, self-governed zone.

Prospera’s lengthy Twitter thread and an article by Nick Dranias, general counsel on July 6, claimed that articles like the one in The Guardian were just the latest example of the “barrages of lies and misinformation” coming from mainstream media.

“Unsurprisingly, given the importance of our project, we were confronted by a barrage falsehoods and misinformation from mainstream media.”

Drani discusses three myths that are allegedly being propagated by mainstream media, including:

“Myth #1: Prospera did not properly socialize the project before launch.

Myth #2: Prospera is an ideological/crypto/libertarian project.

Myth #3: The Prospera ZEDE took land from the locals in Honduras.

Find out the truth about Prospera Zero Emissions & Unplug the lies. @usembassyhn @GobiernoHN @ProsperaGlobal @SenTedCruz @chiproytx @marcorubio @RyanBergPhD @exjon @RepMarkGreen @SenatorRisch @kyrstensinema @timkaine @USDOJ_Intl @USSOCOM @VP @SenBillCassidy
— Nick Dranias (@NickDranias) July 6, 2022

Cointelegraph was told by a Prospera representative that the general response from the community has been positive, with the exception of a few.

“We have a great relationship with the local community. We are the largest employer in the community and work well with them.” Only two people in the community are against us. The media only speaks to those two individuals.

Prospera Global claims that the bulldozer-scraped lands are construction sites for environmentally-friendly “low cost housing available to all islanders” and the jobs serve as employment opportunities for the local community.

8/Next Jeff mentions “disputes over the land rights” & “displacing local people.” Jeff, can you name one resident that we have displaced? The statement is misleading and false.
— Prospera Global (@ProsperaGlobal), July 5, 2022

Since April’s repeal of the ZEDE law by President Castro, Prospera has been in a legal dispute with the government. This would have given the project 12 months to register in a new framework like a “Free Zone”, which would allow tax cuts but not self-government.

Prospera requested government consultations in the Investment Chapter of the Dominican Republic–Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. This was done to ensure that the country’s ZEDE status would not be revoked under the terms of the original agreement.

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Honduras Prospera Inc. insists that its registration as a ZEDE is valid for at least 50 more years, thanks to the legal framework it signed in 2017. The firm stated in a blog post on June 4, that:

“Failing to honor these commitments would be a violation of international and Honduran laws, as well as unfair and wrongful treatment of HondurasProspera. It would also send a message that foreign investment in Honduras cannot be trusted.”

According to the company, it wants to avoid “international investor-state arbitration” but hopes that the government will adhere to the original ZEDE agreement. The company plans to “invest hundreds and millions more in the future,” and Honduras Prospera Inc. raised $60 Million in April to fund the project despite the ZEDE removal.

The representative stated that the government has yet to respond to our formal request for consultation.

Prospera, a private-managed settlement in Honduras, is managed by Honduras Prospera Inc. Prospera Village covers 58 acres. It includes areas for the headquarters, housing and areas to allow businesses to open shop. If local landowners agree that their property is integrated into the ZEDE territory, it can grow in size.