Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chiquita: More then bananas in your morning cereal ?

How about blood, terrorism and human rights abuses? How about murder?

Thanks to thenakedfacts for bringing this one to my attention. With an update below

“The Chiquita Papers” show for the first time that the banana giant actually benefited from years of illegal payments to Colombian guerrilla groups and right-wing death squads responsible for countless civilian killings. The new evidence contradicts Chiquita’s long-held position—set forth in a 2007 sentencing agreement with U.S. prosecutors—that it was the victim of extortion and had never received “any actual security services or actual security equipment in exchange for the payments.

Could someone explain to me how it is this company is encouraging terrorism and getting away with it? Seems Chiquita is a terrorist supporting organization.
I thought there was a "war on terror"?
Oh and one more rhetorical question... Where is the main stream media coverage on this story?
I know, I know all pointless questions, still they have to be asked!

For Chiquita, these payoffs to politicians, paramilitaries, and military officers were the “cost of doing business in Colombia,” but it remains to be seen what the true price tag will ultimately be. The paltry $25 million fine Chiquita paid to settle the Justice Department’s criminal investigation may seem a small amount of money to pay for knowingly financing a foreign terrorist group, but the company now also faces as much as a billion dollars in damages in civil suits brought by victims of guerrilla and AUC violence.

The cost of doing business? Nice excuse.
This paragraph brings me to the update I mentioned earlier. The civil suit brought by the victims against Chiquita

Just recently a judge in Florida ruled that case can move forward-

U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled against the request for dismissal filed by Chiquita that had argued it was a victim of extortion by the paramilitary group AUC and had nothing to do with the crimes committed by the paramilitary AUC that received millions of dollars of the U.S. banana company.

The family members can now move forward with claims for damages against the company for torture and crimes against humanity. The judge did grant Chiquita that claims for damages related to terrorism were dropped. (they shouldn't have been)

"A company that pays a terrorist organization that kills thousands of people should get the capital punishment of civil liability and be put out of business by punitive damages," attorney Terry Collingsworth told AP earlier this week.

How do you like those bananas?


Link over to Twelfth Bough's for a related post. Helps to fill in the role of corporations in terrorism. Oh and of course, one can't forget the complicity of the Catholic Church


  1. yup. Pen i covered this in a way back post when the pope visited Guatemala:

    "Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, used to be Chiquita's top legal counsel. Chiquita, along with other corporations like Coca Cola, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum and Drummond Co., have reportedly made arrangements in the past with death squads. As reported here:

    After we restored order and became the local agents of law enforcement, managers for Chiquita and Dole plantations relied upon us to respond to their complaints...We would also get calls from the Chiquita and Dole plantations identifying specific people as "security problems" or just "problems." Everyone knew that this meant we were to execute the identified person. In most cases those executed were union leaders or members or individuals seeking to hold or reclaim land that Dole or Chiquita wanted for banana cultivation, and the Dole or Chiquita administrators would report to the AUC that these individuals were suspected guerillas or criminals.

    So, assassinate union leaders and report them as suspected guerillas or criminals. Check. After serving as top legal counsel, get promoted to Attorney General of the US. Check."

    et cetera...

  2. i think Smedley Butler identified United Fruit (Chiquita) as one of the gangsters he was fighting (and killing) for in Latin America.

    There's a long history there

  3. And what about that deafening silence from the catholic church, THE dominant force in Latin America. Its silence then and now means complicity. In the face of decades of brutality, they say nothing.

    And when someone does speak out, like Archbishop Oscar Romero calling on the troops to follow Jesus and not fire on their own people, he is assassinated. And what does the catholic church say?


  4. Thanks AP!

    I will add your link to the post.

  5. And James, what about the Catholic Church?

    Same old, same old?

  6. yes, Pen, they're nothing less than a disgrace.It was Ratzinger who personally squashed the movement for some social justice started by local priests.

    Here's Bruce Cockburn's song about Guatemala

    If I Had A Rocket Launcher