Pereyra case, Ingenio Tabacal, Sep 2006

Argentina: Articles regarding the killing of an indigenous youth by security guards working for Ingenio Tabacal - & concerns over other abuses, September 2006

Original articles are in Spanish. The following title translations and summaries of the articles' key points are provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

The Resource Centre invited Seaboard and Ingenio Tabacal to provide a response to these articles.  Seaboard declined to respond.  We have been corresponding with Ingenio Tabacal and will update this page as soon as we receive their response.

1. Security guards beat young man to death for stealing oranges (Argentina), 27 September 2006
The security guards who beat an 18-year-old guaraní to death for stealing oranges on Friday 15 September in Orán, Salta, have been detained.  They are accused of homicide, threats, injuries and other crimes.  The accused are 16 men who work for the US security company Search SA and a driver contracted by Ingenio San Martín de Tabacal, a sugar and orange company owned by Seaboard Corp. (USA).
Fabián Pereyra and his friends used to steal oranges from the lorries that left the grounds of Ingenio Tabacal, to sell them on at 2.50 pesos for a bag of 50.  This is one way local people have tried to soften the blow of high levels of unemployment in the region, due in large part to the wave of redundancies at the plantation.  On this particular occasion the company’s security guards ambushed the boys and beat them.  Pereyra was unable to escape.  Two days later his body was found in an irrigation canal, beaten up and with marks around his wrists where they had been bound.
The lawyer for Fabián’s family, Hernán Mascietti, said this is not the first time something like this has happened.  On 5 August 2004 a group of Search employees and security personnel from Ingenio Tabacal entered a guaraní community with sticks and other weapons.  They beat up some of the residents, one of whom was hospitalised for 30 days.  That incident led to protests against the company in Salta, Buenos Aires and in Boston, USA.

2. History of violence
Adital, 26 September 2006
Local social movements in Oran, Salta, view the killing of an indigenous youth by security forces of Ingenio Tabacal (part of Seaboard Corp.) for stealing oranges, as part of a historical pattern of abuse by the company against the indigenous guaraní people.
Increased mechanisation during the 1960s meant the original inhabitants were no longer needed on their land, triggering the first wave of migration to settlements in the city. In 1996 the plantation was sold to the US company Seaboard Plantation, which has further mechanised the production process and laid off 6000 families.  The migration of these families to urban areas has removed their traditional way of life, exacerbating poverty, delinquency, teenage suicides and drug addiction.  The company currently employs 8000 informal workers, who are underpaid (11 pesos for a 12 hour day) and some of whom are underage.