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Colombia: 13 ex-Chiquita executives to face criminal charges over alleged financing of paramilitary groups

"Colombia charges 13 former Chiquita executives over hundreds of murders", 1 Sep 2018

Colombia’s prosecution said Friday it would charge more than a dozen former executives of the popular Chiquita bananas on charges they used death squads to increase profits.  In a press statement, the prosecution said 13 former Chiquita executives, including three Americans, one Costa Rican and one Honduran...will be expected in court to respond to terrorism support charges.  The criminal charges against Chiquita are the first after more than a century of often brutal labor practices, initially under the name of the United Fruits Company.  The charges brought are only about human rights violations between 1990 and 2004 when Chiquita allegedly financed paramilitary groups through subsidiaries and death squads’ front companies in a phenomenon called “para-economics.”  Hundreds, possibly thousands of locals were murdered by paramilitary group AUC in Chiquita’s area of influence in the northwestern Uraba region...The Prosecutor General’s Office established that the payments were delivered directly and consigned to the bank accounts of an organization that was created to support the illegal armed structures of the self-defense groups (AUC).  Prosecutor General Humberto Martinez announced earlier this year he would investigate hundreds of businessmen and corporations for their participation in what has been called “para-economics.”...No Chiquita executive has ever been criminally charged in Colombia, in spite the fact the prosecution possessed hundreds of testimonies...The company would not immediately respond to the new criminal charges.