Fundación Eléutera has won the 2019 Latin America Liberty Award for their work to strengthen the rule of law in Honduras through reforms to the nation’s tax code. The $7,000 prize is generously sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton Religion Trust and is part of Atlas Network's suite of Regional Liberty Awards. Two other finalists—Asociación de Contribuyentes del Peru, and SFL Brasil—were each awarded $1,500. The award was announced at Latin America Liberty Forum 2019.
"[Winning the 2019 Latin America Award] tells us the work done by everyone at Fundación Eléutera transcends the Honduran borders (and it) gives us the energy to tackle even bigger problems." explained Guillermo Peña Panting, Fundación Eléutera’s chairman of the board of directors.
When the Honduran government began revising its tax code in 2014, Fundación Eléutera contributed fifteen different reforms that would protect the rights of Hondurans—specifically small business owners—by reducing arbitrary government intervention and that reinforce the rule of law. Before these reforms, a business could be searched and shut down for almost any reason at any time, and the owners had to pay 100 percent of the fines levied against them before they could even have the chance of disputing the charges before a judge.
Now, government agencies are required to obtain warrants before searching or suspending a business and strict due process that must be followed. Additionally, businesses can only be shut down for breaking Honduran laws, not for violating administrative regulations (which can change rapidly and on short notice). And, if a business wishes to go to court and fight charges made against them by any government agencies, they only pay a fraction of the total fines. Over 2,200,000 Hondurans have benefitted from these reforms.
To learn more about the other finalists for the 2019 Latin America Liberty Award click here.