March 9, 2017
EarthRights International is right to draw attention to the tragic land conflicts of the Bajo Aguán region of Honduras (“Honduran farmers accuse World Bank arm of “profiting from murder,” 8 March 2017), but it is quite mistaken to allege that Corporación Dinant has been waging a campaign against farmers’ co- operatives. We too have been victims of the violence, with 19 of our security guards murdered since 2010 during armed invasions of our African Palm plantations or similar incidents.
Dinant is a signficant landowner in a part of Honduras beset by poverty, insecurity and drug trafficking, and so perhaps it is inevitable that those ignorant of the true causes of the problems here blame big business for everything that goes wrong. In fact, we accept our responsibilities to the people that live here, and have created thousands of well-paid local jobs, built lasting relationships with hundreds of independent suppliers, and successfully implemented policies that are almost unparalleled in Central America, such as removing firearms from security guards at our plantations, mills and factories.
Northern Honduras is a challenging place to do business but – with the support of the IFC – Dinant has proved that it is possible, while engaging peacefully and respectfully with local communities. The IFC’s loan to Dinant was granted, among other things, to expand economic opportunities in rural areas like the Aguán. EarthRights International’s absurd allegations threaten to undermine the very people they claim to represent.
Roger Pineda Pinel
Corporate-Banking Relations and Sustainability Director
Barrio Morazan, Frente a Plantas Tropicales
The Editor of the Financial Times