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Strange Fruit: Colombia, A [Chiquita] Banana Republic

COMMENT: U.S. courts are to hear a suit against Chiquita Banana, the well-known banana importer with the cute “female singing banana” marketing icon. Charging that the company has colluded with both right and left-wing paramilitaries, drug smugglers and death squads, plaintiffs will be proceeding with their arguments. How far they are able to go may be limited by forthcoming Supreme Court proceedings. The firm was previously represented by Eric Holder (now Attorney General).

One wonders if the company’s involvement with these malefactors went farther than the legal arguments allege. Might the firm have helped bring some of the Colombian cocaine, heroin or marijuana into the U.S. and/or laundered money from the traffic?

“Chiquita Banana to Face Colombia Torture Claim” by Pratap Chatterjee; CorpWatch Blog; 3/30/2012.

EXCERPT: Chiquita, the global banana producer, was ordered this week to face a federal court over their role in paying off right wing death squads in Colombia. Villagers allege that the death squads used “random and targeted violence in exchange for financial assistance and access to Chiquita’s private port for arms and drug smuggling,” according to a lawsuit filed on their behalf by EarthRights International and Cohen Milstein. . . .

. . . . Cincinnati-based Chiquita has been growing bananas in Colombia since 1899. For over four decades these operations have been under attack – first by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), a left-wing guerrilla group, and then by Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a paramilitary group created by ranchers and drug traffickers.
Court documents show that Chiquita executives paid off both groups. FARC was paid between $20,000 and $100,000 a month. Chiquita has also admitted to making over 100 payments totaling $1.7 million to the AUC or affiliated organizations over seven years. . . .

Discussion

3 comments for “Strange Fruit: Colombia, A [Chiquita] Banana Republic”

  1. The law firm pursuing the claims appears to have a good track record. Let’s hope they’re not too ‘connected’.

    “Agnieszka Fryszman, a Partner at Cohen Milstein, joined the Firm in 1998. She heads Cohen Milstein’s International Human Rights and Pro Bono practice.

    Ms. Fryszman regularly litigates complex cases against corporate giants. She was a member of the legal team that successfully represented survivors of Nazi-era forced and slave labor against the German and Austrian companies that allegedly profited from their labor. These cases were resolved by international negotiations that resulted in multi-billion dollar settlements. She also represented, pro bono, Holocaust survivors suing Swiss banks that collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War II. This litigation led academics to revise their assessment of Switzerland’s relationship with Nazi Germany and exposed the extent of business participation in the Holocaust.”

    Posted by Dwight | April 1, 2012, 10:25 am
  2. @Dwight: It does sound like they’re pretty genuine to me too, though. Let’s hope our optimism pays off. =)

    Posted by Steven L. | April 1, 2012, 1:46 pm
  3. […] Strange Fruit: Colombia, A [Chiquita] Banana Republic This entry was posted in Non classé. Bookmark the permalink. ← Marine Le Pen – Radio Classique – PublicSenat – 020412 […]

    Posted by Miscellaneous articles for – Articles divers pour 04-02-2012 | Lys-d'Or | April 2, 2012, 9:38 am

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