[Translations of two articles, the first from Revistazo.com of Tegucigalpa for November 15, the second from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula for November 16. See original articles here and here. Businessman and landowner Miguel Facussé Barjum, one of the wealthiest men in Honduras, is owner of Grupo Dinant, which produces biodiesel fuel from palm and jatropha oils, among other enterprises. He and other members of his family are widely thought to have been instrumental in the coup d’état that ousted Manuel Zelaya from the presidency on June 28, 2009. César Ham of the leftist Unidad Democrática party is currently director of the Instituto Nacional Agrario, the National Agrarian Institute, in the administration of de facto president Porfirio Lobo Sosa. A supporter of Zelaya and of the drive for a Constituent Assembly, Ham was widely criticized by other leftists for accepting a position in the Lobo administration, which apparently offered it to him in an attempt to co-opt the resistance.]
Four campesinos killed in confrontation with Facussé security guards
by Germán Reyes
The deaths of four campesinos and the injuries and disappearances of several others have been reported as the result of a confrontation between security guards working for landowner Miguel Facussé and members of the Movimiento Campesino de Aguán (MCA – Aguán Campesino Movement). The event took place in the community of El Tumbador, in the jurisdiction of Trujillo, Colón.
The Bajo Aguán area is again the scene of a bloodbath. Campesinos of the area told communications media of a confrontation this morning which resulted in the deaths of campesinos Ignacio Reyes, Teodoro Acosta and Jacko Muñoz.
The four [sic] campesinos lost their lives in the confrontation while others reportedly were wounded and some were even disappeared.
El Tumbador is an area of 700 hectares belonging to the State of Honduras which in the ‘80s was used for the training of foreign soldiers for the purpose of combating Central American guerrillas. At the time the location was known as the Centro Regional de Entrenamiento Militar (CREM – Regional Military Training Center).
The lands were bought by the State of Honduras from Puerto Rican Temístocles Ramírez to be assigned to the Movimiento Campesino de Aguán. According to campesinos of the area, however, Facussé claims them as his own.
The question of land ownership in the department of Colón is not new. In an effort to settle the violent situation that has developed in recent years, campesinos of the Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán (MUCA – United Campesino Movement of Aguán) signed a “certificate of commitment” with the administration of Porfirio Lobo Sosa.
In it a commitment was made to hand over to the campesinos in April of this year 3,000 hectares of cultivated land and 3,000 uncultivated hectares. Nevertheless, to date only 1,704 hectares of cultivated land has been transferred and the rest has been forgotten by the government.
Several different figures on the number of persons killed in the confrontation are being offered by communications media.
In view of the delicacy of the situation, Revistazo.com interviewed Santos Cruz, regional secretary of the Central Nacional de Tabajadores del Campo (CNTC ), who affirmed that three people have died, several were wounded and the whereabouts of others is not known.
The Frente Municipal de Resistencia Popular de Tocoa (FMRT – Municipal Front for Popular Resistance of Tocoa) declared in a statement that large caliber weapons had been used in the operation, among them R15 rifles, and held Miguel Facussé responsible for unleashing a series of assaults against the campesino movement of the Aguán valley.
“The FMRT denounces the actions, which are added to multiple assaults that Miguel Facussé has unleashed in the Valle del Aguán against campesino organizations and popular leaders, in collusion with the civilian and military authorities of this administration, which calls itself one of National Unity. We denounce the murders and the system of impunity prevailing in our country,” declares a statement written by the Tocoa resistance.
The FMRT issued a call as well to international and national human rights organizations and solidarity groups to offer judicial and humanitarian support to the injured campesinos and their families.
Facussé holds Ham responsible for campesinos’ deaths
Tegucigalpa – Businessman Miguel Facussé yesterday blamed César Ham, director of the Instituto Nacional Agrario (INA – National Agrarian Institute), for the deaths of five people in El Tumbador in Trujillo, Colón, last Monday.
The businessman made his accusation on the “Frente a Frente” television program, in which César Ham participated, as well as Roger Pineda, spokesman for Grupo Dinant.
By means of a telephone call, the businessman unexpectedly took part in the debate, not hesitating to accuse the INA director of having given false hope to the campesinos by giving them lands in use by the company he owns.
“You are the murderer of those people,” César Ham answered the businessman.
Facussé stated that “(the campesinos) arrived saying that you (Ham) had told them that those lands were theirs and they gave my people five minutes to remove them and that’s when the shooting began.”
According to the businessman, the campesinos “came armed and you exposed them to danger knowing we had security guardes to protect our land who would kill them. You are the murderer,” he emphasized and then asserted that the workers were carrying large caliber AK-47 weapons.
Facussé urged the functionary to resolve the agrarian conflict in courts of law.
“I am very sorry about the deaths of those people. We are going to try to compensate their families in some way, but, Ham, you are responsible for those deaths,” the businessman concluded…