Yesterday at around 4pm, the Xatruch Task Force – the multi-agency security unit deployed by the Honduran Government to patrol throughout the Aguán region of Northern Honduras – ceased using a warehouse on Dinant’s Paso Aguán plantation for the rest and recuperation of its members, and permanently vacated the company’s premises.
Earlier today, following Xatruch’s departure, large groups of trespassers – including members of the Gregorio Chavez Movement and people from the Rigores community – illegally entered Dinant’s Paso Aguán plantation and began stealing fruit.
Xatruch was tasked by the Government in 2011 with establishing peace and order in the Aguán region after local police became overwhelmed by increasing levels of violence and the rising presence of illegal automatic weapons in the hands of organized criminal groups. In order to help local people in the Panama, Rigores and other small communities near the Paso Aguán Plantation, Dinant granted temporary basic shelter for taskforce members patrolling the communities around the plantation. Dinant and Xatruch agreed that the taskforce had temporary and sole use of the empty and unused warehouse, but that the building must not be put to any use other than rest and recuperation.
Company spokesman, Roger Pineda, commented, “A group of people misrepresenting the real Campesino movements have exploited the departure of Xatruch by invading Dinant’s plantation, where they remain harvesting and stealing fruit worth thousands of dollars. This is a situation that benefits nobody but criminals and those wishing for insecurity in the region.”
Due to physical and verbal threats towards its staff, Dinant has been unable to enter the plantation since the public authorities evicted trespassers in October 2017. At that time, Dinant’s security staff – none of whom carry firearms – followed company procedures and retreated from the plantation. Dinant has today filed another complaint with the courts and called on the support of the local police. Without exception, the removal of invaders from Dinant property has been undertaken exclusively by Government security forces acting in accordance Honduran law or under direct instruction from the Honduran courts.
Mr. Pineda continued, “Although Xatruch has vacated Dinant’s Paso Aguán warehouse, we welcome their continued presence in the region to provide security to communities and businesses. We condemn the actions of those trespassing on our property and stealing fruit. This is the latest in a long list of invasions that put lives at risk, hurt the financial prospects of our staff and the local economy, and bring instability to the region. We refuse to be intimidated by this long-running campaign by criminal elements misrepresenting the real campesino groups in Northern Honduras.”
About Corporación Dinant
Dinant is a family-owned consumer products manufacturer founded in Honduras in 1960. Its products are sold across Central America and the Dominican Republic. Dinant rigorously benchmarks its African Palm oil business against stringent international standards regarding economic, environmental and social impact; the sustainability of supplies; and engagement with all local stakeholders. Dinant has removed all firearms from security men and women at all plantations, extraction mills and manufacturing plants. Security staff and contractors carry only a baton, whistle and mobile phone, while wearing a high-visibility vest.