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10 Jun 2024

International Rights Advocates

Federal Court Jury in West Palm Beach Rules Against Chiquita Brands International in Landmark Case


"Federal Court Jury in West Palm Beach Rules Against Chiquita Brands International in Landmark Case," 10 June 2024

...A federal jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, delivered a... verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs against Chiquita Brands International. The case, which has been ongoing for 17 years, centered on Chiquita’s financial support of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) from 1996 to 2004. The AUC is a violent paramilitary group that operated in Colombia. Plaintiffs successfully argued that Chiquita, which had extensive banana plantations in Colombia’s Urabá and Magdalena regions, began paying the AUC for protection against the FARC, a left-wing armed group that threatened their operations...

Testimony at trial revealed that the AUC oversaw a reign of terror, slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians, including relatives of the Plaintiffs, merely suspected of sympathizing with the FARC. The AUC also targeted union leaders, human rights activists, and strike participants, all while protecting Chiquita’s interests. The evidence further established that Chiquita facilitated the AUC’s operations by allowing the group to use its ports for importing weapons and its banana boats for exporting cocaine to the U.S. and Europe...

...they were awarded 38.3 million by the jury.