Honduras: rights abuses may catch up with Aguán landowner http://www.ww4report.com/node/9813
On April 8 a German development bank, DEG Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, cancelled a previously approved loan to Grupo Dinant, a large Honduran company that produces snacks, other food products and cooking oil; the loan was reportedly worth $20 million. Shortly afterwards, EDF Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the French energy firm Electricité de France SA, cancelled a contract to buy carbon credits from a Dinant subsidiary, Exportadora del Atlántico, under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for carbon trading.
Although the two European companies didn't explain why they were backing out of their Honduran deals, the moves appeared to result from an international campaign around allegations of human rights abuses in northern Honduras' Lower Aguán Valley by Dinant's founder, wealthy landowner Miguel Facussé Barjum.
Along with other big landowners, Facussé has been engaged in a longstanding, often bloody dispute over land in the Lower Aguán region claimed by campesino families living in the area. In a recent incident, five private guards killed five members of the Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MCA) on Nov. 15 at Facussé's El Tumbador African palm plantation, in Trujillo, Colón. In addition to raising African palms on Lower Aguán land for cooking oil, Facussé and Dinant have been trying to use African palms to get a foothold in the international biofuel market. Dinant has secured a $7 million loan from the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and a $30 million loan from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) in part to expand the company's African palm cultivation.