Text and graphics: Marcia Perdomo
Editing: Emy Padilla
Photographs: Fernando Destephen
Tegucigalpa. –Surrounded by three national parks, two wildlife refuges and a botanical garden, we find the municipality of Arizona in the department of Atlántida, where several extractive projects have been installed, including the Jilamito Hydroelectric Project to which environmental and operation permits have been issued despite not having the consent of the communities and being located within the buffer zone of the Texiguat Wildlife Reserve.
The Jilamito Hydroelectric Project is being executed by Inversiones de Generación Eléctrica, Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable (INGELSA), with commercial registration 0000033459 - 00000 and in which Herramientas Manuales Centroamericanas Sociedad Anónimas (HERMACASA) and Emin Jorge Abufele Marcos appear as partners. Dun & Bradstreet, a company that collects financial data from private companies, estimates INGELSA's annual revenue to be US $1.07 million and HERMACASA at US $ 9.02 million.
Among the majority partners of HERMACASA, with commercial registration 0000078799 - 00000, we once again find Emin Jorge Abufele Marcos and the US-owned company Simonds Industries Inc. This company — based in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and which advertises itself as the oldest cutting tool manufacturer in North America — entered into a joint venture agreement with HERMACASA, with 45% ownership, as stated on its website. Dun & Bradstreet estimates its annual revenue for 2020 to be US $927,126.
Other partners in HERMACASA are: Raúl Castillo; Inversiones Oasys, S.A. de C.V., Rafael Prieto, Citric S.A. de CV, Grupo Corona, SA, Jesús S. Siwady, Corporación Makaira SA, Fuad C. Abufele, Omar Abufele Salomon, Jacobo Kattan, Matilde Prieto de Barraouse, Ana Lucía Prieto de Bográn, Dolores C. de Uclés, Mario Prieto Velez, Ferretería La Montañesa, María Consuelo del Reynaud Prieto, José Francisco Reynaud Prieto, Jenny Huda Chahín, María del Carmen Chahin, Pedro Cobos Caminos, and George K. Kawas.
Both INGELSA and HERMACASA appear on their website as members of Grupo Inversiones Eléctricas S.A. de C.V. (IESA Group). This company appears among the partners of the Sociedad Eléctrica Mesoamericana Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable (SEMSA) with commercial registration 0000035863 - 00000. Other partners are Emin Jorge Abufele Marcos, Finnfund, E&CO and CAREC. The Sociedad Eléctrica Mesoamericana Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable is in charge of the Mezapa Hydroelectric Project, located in the village of Mezapita, in the municipality of Arizona, department of Atlántida. In the case of SEMSA, Dun & Bradstreet values its annual revenues at US $ 5.58 million.
In both cases, both in the Mezapa Hydroelectric Project and the Jilamito Hydroelectric Project, the Honduran citizen Rafael León de Pioccioto Cueva is mentioned as a representative of the aforementioned companies in the operation contract for the generation of power and electric energy of the Mezapa project and the contract for national water use published in the official newspaper La Gaceta on February 6, 2009 and June 12, 2014, respectively.
Just as Pioccioto Cueva was a representative of SEMSA and currently of INGELSA, the businessman Emin Abufele Marcos Santos appears as a partner in a personal capacity and through his shares in his different companies. Two hydropower generating companies, same partners, same representative, both in the municipality of Arizona in the department of Atlántida.
WHO IS EMIN JORGE ABUFELE MARCOS?
Emin Jorge Abufele Marcos is a businessman from San Pedro Sula linked as a partner to at least four companies that Criterio.hn has tracked: Sociedad Eléctrica Mesoamericana, Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable (SEMSA), in charge of the Mezapa Hydroelectric Project located in the Mezapita village, municipality of Arizona in the department of Atlántida; Inversiones de Generación Eléctricas, Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable (INGELSA), who was awarded the Jilamito Hydroelectric Project, also in the municipality of Arizona; Herramientas Manuales Centroamericanas, Sociedad Anónima (HERMACASA); and Industrias Molineros, Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable (IMSA), among others.
The latter, IMSA, was the third rice company to benefit from the Operation Honduras Solidarity (HS), in which the State allocated 757.5 million lempiras, as revealed by Criterio.hn through the third installment of its Honduras Solidarity Investigation: The Pandemic of Welfare. Through the sales of rice, corn and wheat flour, this company received a total of 33.5 million lempiras from the State in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Emin Jorge Abufele Marcos [president] also appears together with Marjory Rodezno [secretary] and Carlos Rene Ávila [treasurer] as directors of the company Operaciones Hidroeléctricas SA, based in Panama City, incorporated on November 9, 2015 with public deed number 40,000 and registered under folio 155616758 in the Public Registry of Panama. The shareholders named in the certificate are the Panamanian citizens Fernando Antonio and Luz Esperanza Rivera Chacón. It is notable to point out that both Abufele Marcos and Carlos Rene Ávila were the ones who initially constituted Inversiones de Generación Eléctrica, S.A (INGELSA) in February 2006.
The deed of Operations Hidroeléctricas S.A. establishes as the object of the corporation, “the design, construction, operation, maintenance, administration and supervision of hydroelectric power plants, as well as to establish, process and carry out the business of an investment company; buy, sell and negotiate in all classes and consumer items stocks, bonds and securities of all classes; buy, sell, lease or otherwise acquire or dispose of real estate; request and give money on loan, with or without collateral; enter into, extend, fulfill and carry out contracts of all kinds; become a guarantor of or guarantee the performance and fulfillment of all and any contracts; engage in any lawful business that is not prohibited to corporations; and do any of the preceding acts as principal, agent or in any other representative character, whatever it may be.”
Although the Open Corporates site details that, at the end of 2019, Emin Jorge Abufele Marcos, Marjory Rodezno and Carlos Rene Ávila were removed as directors of Operations Hidroeléctricas SA, said removal does not appear in the Public Registry, which in Panama is the official body, for which they legally continue to run said corporation. It is important to highlight that Marjory Rodezno appears in the Honduran commercial registry as a representative of INGELSA; while Carlos Rene Ávila as representative of SEMSA and IMSA.
Emin J. Abufele Marcos is the son of Emin Jorge Abufele Salomón, who in the eighties was part of the Association for the Progress of Honduras (APROH), a far-right organization that was formed in Honduras to counter the social movement that emerged as a result of the cold war and that was against the American invasion of Central America. Abufele Salomón was also a presidential advisor during the nationalist government of the late Rafael Leonardo Callejas, (1990-1994).
ORIGINS OF ADJUDICATION
The Jilamito and Mezapa Hydroelectric Projects can be traced back to September 2006 when the State Forestry Administration - Honduran Forest Development Corporation (Afe-Cohdefor) now Forest Conservation Institute (ICF), issued technical opinion DAPVS-0113-2006 following a request by the Sociedad Eléctrica Mesoamericana, SA de C.V. (SEMSA). In it, Afe-Cohdefor “determines that the intake works of the Hydroelectric projects on the Mezapa and Jilamito rivers are within the buffer zone of the RVS Texiguat and that the power houses of the same projects are outside the limits from RVS Texiguat, but within the declared micro-basins of the Mezapa and Jilamito rivers.”