Jose Antonio Lopez Lara of Rigores was identified as the body found in the exhumation of a clandestine burial site in the Paso Aguan plantation today. The exhumation was performed by two Guatemalan forensic anthropologists [with the FAFG – Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation], and attended by Honduran judicial officials and representatives of COFADEH and campesinos from the area, as well as by local police and military officials.
Human rights advocates tell World Bank (WB) auditors that the WB is obligated to respect the rights of the "Panama" campesino community in Honduras, who were shot at while protesting the illegal and violent land usurpations that they are suffering at the hands of the Dinant Corporation, a WB loan recipient.
The land disputes date back to efforts in the 1960s to entice landless farmers to the fertile region of the Bajo Aguan. The initial agrarian reform laws contained protections intended to ensure that the land remained in the hands of small landowners by limiting the amount of hectares individuals could accumulate. In 1992, the Law for Modernisation of Land gutted many of the protections written into the original agrarian reform efforts, creating pressure on peasant land cooperatives to sell their land to large landowners.
This past December 10th, the British magazine The Economist published an article that makes a reference to a memorandum of understanding between the government of Honduras and two United States firms regarding the construction of Model Cities (Charter Cities) in Honduran territory, without notifying the Honduran people up to now of the planned transactions.
At 3,000 square miles, the Aguan River Valley in northeastern Honduras is about the same size as California's Death Valley. But despite being green and fertile, the Aguan basin is becoming famous as a "valley of death."