viernes, 28 de mayo de 2010

World Wildlife Fund whitewashes image of palm agribusiness industrial Miguel Facusse

Today Diario La Prensa(main pro coup newspaper) published an interview with the controversial businessman Miguel Facussé, who pointed out that the "problem of lower Aguan will destroy the economy" (1), suggesting that the "insurgency" in that area of the country, is endangering the possible future investment in the country.

While this article includes a video on an agreement signed by Quimicas Dinant - owned by Facussé - and the Worldwide Fund for Wildlife (WWF, its acronym in English) as a mutual understanding for the certification of the so-called Roundtable on Palm Oil (RSPO, its acronym in English).

It is very important to see how the WWF signed an agreement with Mr. Facussé (2), at the very moment that the Lower Aguan is mired in a major social conflict. Of course, it is of public knowledge the large amount of pesticides used by Facussé and his plantations and the harmful effects it poses to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
Despite the alleged "good intentions" of the agreement, there are serious doubts about the role played by the RSPO, in particular its role laundering the image of palm companies in Papua New Guinea (3). The Principles and Criteria used by the RSPO has no further legal framework and the systems of accountability are quite questionable, so says the Center for Environmental and Community Law(CELCOR) from Papua New Guinea, who added that 11 of 12 companies in Papua, registered in the RSPO, do not meet the stipulated standards.

But the allegations pointing to the WWF go further, for having received $ 20 million from Coca Cola in 2007 for research on efficient water use. Meanwhile, Coca Cola plunders aquifers from various countries of the world, such is the case of Mexico, where Coca-Cola Femsa paid 2,600 Mexican pesos for each of the 46 concessions for exploitation of groundwater a year and had profits, in 2007 alone, of around 32, 500 million Mexicanpesos (4)

Torry Kuswardono in charge of the agrofuels campaign of Friends of the Earth Indonesia, said it was "hard to know what is the role of the WWF, because they always operate in a gray area between government and palm companies(5)

There are also allegations that the RSPO member companies continue to take over community lands without respective consultation, using techniques of divisiveness among the indigenous peoples of the Papua New Guinea island. Wilmar International - Singapore firm affiliated to RSPO, has been denounced on several occasions for its land-grabbing techniques obtained through deception affecting local populations (6).

WWF faced by all complaints filed by communities and NGOs, simply replied that "there will always be accusations and the WWF cannot be everywhere at the same time."

The WWF in a press release in May, 2009, says that only 1% of sustainable palm oil is located in the market (7), meanwhile, a brutal deforestation in the Indonesian archipelago and tropical forests of Central and South America persists.

In the case of Honduras, the millionaire compensation which Facusse will receive for the three thousand hectares from farms in the Lower Aguan, will probably be reinvested by him in the Moskitia, where the kings of the Honduran palm have their eyes on. Facusse has already been seizing the entire coastal strip where there are reportedly huge oil and natural gas fields.

Each hectare of wetland which is dried up, emits from 3750 to 5400 tons of carbon dioxide, this being one of the reasons of why agrofuels instead of solving the problem of climate change, rather increases it.

Of course that Facussé loves green make-up and on behalf of an alleged environmentalism he has taken over Punta Izopo and Punta Farallones. The first has a supposedly protected area (Punta Izopo National Park) and the second a controversial runway (8)

It seems that the WWF ignores the social conflicts that exist in the country, of course there are good intentions: to save the corals. What is inconsistent is that with their participation in tourism operations carried out by Fundación Cayos Cochinos, they forget that air and maritime transports provides much of the greenhouse gases, ignoring the impact of climate change and coral bleaching.
The dream of Facusse as mentioned in the video that appears on the website of the newspaper La Prensa, is to turn everything in Honduras into a palm plantation. Or at least he said so in his National Development Plan to circle in the early 90s, which seems to be the same Nation Plan sold to us by the current administration.
La Ceiba Atlantida May 26, 2010
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