Banana Land and the Corporate Death Squad Scandals [Colombia]

Author: Charlie Cray, Huffington Post, Published on: 15 February 2010

A federal judge recently refused to dismiss a civil suit filed against Chiquita which charges that the company paid leftist (FARC) guerrillas…The company's position…has been that…paramilitaries forced the company…to make the payments…The problem for Chiquita and now for Dole (and potentially for Del Monte) is that the confessions reveal a much different story…According…[to] witnesses…the AUC [William Rivas Front of the United Defense Forces] was originally hired by the companies to drive the leftist FARC guerillas out… Once the FARC was vanquished…the banana companies continued to pay the AUC…When a case was filed …against Dole this past April (2009), the company immediately rejected the charges as "baseless allegations"…and "nothing more than the false confessions of convicted terrorists…” Dole is correct to refer to the AUC as "terrorists"…But if the payments are proven, then…the consequences will be harsh: Payments to designated terrorists are illegal -- whether coerced or not -- and whether or not the company is cognizant or indifferent to the consequences…

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Related companies: Chiquita Dole Fresh Del Monte Produce