Miguel Facussé Barjum One of Honduras Richest Men Passes Away

One of Honduras richest men Miguel Facussé Barjum passed away in the Capital city of Honduras Tegucigalpa. He was 93 years old. In the 1970’s he founded Dinant Corporation and turned it into one of the largest producers of Palm Oil products in the world.

Miguel Facussé

Miguel Facussé Barjum president of Dinant Corporation passed away late at night on June 22, 2015 at the age of 93.
Dinant Corporation was founded in the 1970’s

There will be a a wake and services at 12:00 noon today at “Villa Serena” followed by mass. (Time yet to be announced)

Miguel Facussé Barjum was the recipient of the CEAL Founders award ( Consejo Empresarial de América Latina ).

Miguel Facussé was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras the seventh of nine children of Nicholás and María Barjum de Facussé.

Facussé earned his degree in aeronautical engineering in 1944 at the University of Notre Dame. Since then, Facussé has hosted Notre Dame University President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC during a visit to Honduras in 1960 and Rev. Edward “Monk” Malloy, CSC in 2003.

In 1944, Facussé moved to Costa Rica where he worked converting warplanes into commercial cargo airliners. He quickly moved up to be the General Manager of a multinational corporation that reconstructed and maintained wartime aircraft from all over the world.

After returning to Tegucigalpa, Facussé worked in his brother’s textile company. Facussé set up Químicas Dinant de Centroamérica SA in July 1960. In the late 1960s, Facussé won contracts with Procter & Gamble to produce and distribute its products in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

In 1969, Facussé was president of both the Honduras Industrial Association and the Central American Industrial Association. At the time, Facussé owned Químicas Dinant, a company that made soaps and detergents.

In the 1970s, Facussé created a small factory making detergents and soaps for Químicas Dinant. He did so with support from the private international banking sector and credit from the Corporación Nacional de Inversiones (CONADI) which was created by the state in 1974 as part of the strategy to consolidate the new Industrial Model for Substituting Imports (ISI).

In the early 1980s, Facussé was the chief economic advisor to President Roberto Suazo Córdova (in office 1982 to 1986). During this time Facussé helped his nephew, Carlos Roberto Flores, (who later went on to become president of Honduras) become a political advisor to Suazo.

In the 1980s, Facussé was also vice-president of the Asociación para el Progreso de Honduras (APROH), an organization officially founded in January 1983 linking business leaders and military personnel (head of the armed forces Gustavo Álvarez Martínez was elected its first president. A “widely publicised memorandum” by Facussé “argued that the only way out of the national crisis was to ‘sell Honduras to the foreign investor'”. Facussé was still listed as Vice-President of APROH in 2001.

Facussé was president of the Cressida Corporation, which in the 1990s received a $55m investment loan from the World Bank. Facussé sold Cressida, which had subsidiaries throughout Central America and was, at the time, described as “the biggest food and cleaning products manufacturer in Honduras” to Unilever for $322m in 2000 for an estimated net value to Facussé of $120m. Facussé had previously sold his brand Magia Blanca and others to Procter & Gamble for over $25m.

In 2011, Facussé remained the owner of Corporación Dinant which owned over 22,000 acres of palm plantations in Bajo Aguán. Facussé was described in 2012 by Reporters without Borders as having, “a private militia that can count on support from the police and army to impose his will”. Reporters without Borders previously had called upon Facussé to respond publicly after the president of La Voz de Zacate Grande, a radio station involved in a land struggle against Facussé, was shot in 2011. Accusations that Facussé’s militia was responsible for the deaths of peasants occupying his lands (Facussé admitted five deaths during a land invasion, accusing the National Agrarian Institute, INA, of responsibility for having encouraged the invasion) led to the withdrawal in 2011 of a $20m investment loan from the German DEG development bank, and to Électricité de France cancelling the purchase of carbon credits from Dinant. However, the United Nations continued to back two local palm-oil-waste-to-biogas projects through its Clean Development Mechanism. Corporación Dinant denies committing human rights violations or forcibly evicting invaders from its land, and claims that “externally funded armed groups, with no interest in farming, are using the conflicts in Honduras for wider political ends by encouraging the illegal seizure of private lands.”

Leaked US Embassy cables published by WikiLeaks, as well as media reports, suggest that an airstrip on Facussé’s property has been used for the transit of cocaine. Facussé has denied ever having been involved in any activities related to drug trafficking, claiming instead to be helping drug enforcement authorities by reporting illegal activities that occur on Dinant’s property. In 2014, an internal World Bank investigation claimed that the International Finance Corporation violated its own social and environmental rules in approving a $30m loan to Facussé.

In an interview with Forbes Mexico in November 2014, Facusse was described as “el genio de las marcas en Centroamérica” due to his extensive commercial success in the production and marketing of consumer products, initially in the household soaps and bleach markets and more recently by growing, processing and distributing African Palm oil.

In January 2015, under Facusse’s leadership, Dinant published an Annual Progress Report detailing how the company has modernized its security and human rights programs by implementing the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard 4, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Dinant has reportedly removed the firearms from all security guards at its plantations, manufacturing plants and extraction mills.

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