Honduran tycoon Miguel Facusse

A human rights lawyer gunned down in Honduras this weekend had reportedly declared that if he were killed, notorious business tycoon Miguel Facusse, one of the main drivers of the Bajo Aguan land conflict, would be the one behind it.

In the morning of September 23, Antonio Trejo Cabrera was gunned down by unknown assailants after attending a wedding in Tegucigalpa. He had been a legal representative for farmers in disputes with large landowners in the Bajo Aguan region, northern Honduras. A violent land conflict raging there has claimed at least 60 lives in the last two years, most of them farmers.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Trejo had publicly declared that Miguel Facusse, a billionaire landowner involved in the land conflict, would be the one to blame if he were murdered. The lawyer had reported death threats since June 2011, and the AP obtained a copy of a text message received by Trejo that stated: “You have 48 hours to get out or you’re dead.”

Facusse has denied any involvement in the killing.

The United States announced that it will support the investigation into Trejo’s murder.

InSight Crime Analysis

Facusse, a supporter of the 2009 coup, is one of Honduras' most powerful and controversial characters. Earlier this year, Reporters Without Borders named him as the biggest threat to press freedom in the country, with the NGO claiming he oversees his own private militia which “can count on support from the police and army to impose his will.”

In addition, according to a US State Department cable released by WikiLeaks, a Facusse property was the alleged landing site for a plane carrying 1 ton of cocaine in 2004, the third such incident on the property in a little over a year. As academic Dana Frank has pointed out, despite concerns over Facusse’s potential ties to drug trafficking, US Embassy staff have met with the businessman on more than one occasion. There are currently no charges against him in the United States.

Facusse holds enormous political and economic power in Honduras. If he was indeed behind Trejo’s murder, obtaining a conviction against him may prove extremely difficult, even with support from the United States.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

In the photograph, they are both smiling. In the foreground, on the left hand side, a man in a short-sleeved buttoned white shirt, jeans and a metal watch, holds a bottle of water in his right hand. He laughs heartily. He is Herbert Saca. On the right...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs.