Tuesday, October 28, 2014

United Fruit is Brazilian

I talked about the Chiquita deal in my Latin American Politics class today, though I couldn't really think of a snappy conclusion to sum it up. I mostly wanted to show the strange twists and turns that now makes Charlotte, NC part of a transformation of what used to be United Fruit.

We start with United Fruit, which is well known by any Latin Americanist for its exploitation, especially in Central America and the Caribbean (plus Colombia). In 1990 the company (which had already undergone various mutations) became Chiquita Brands International.

In 2011 it moved its headquarters from Cincinnati to Charlotte. At the time I blogged about its human rights problems as well as the money the city threw at it. Not long after moving here, the company was imploding because of poor business decisions. Now, after a length fight, it is being bought by the Brazilian Cutrale and Safra Group. It's not terribly likely the headquarters will stay in Charlotte, so the city is reminding the country it must pay the money back.

But stop and think for a moment. What was United Fruit is now owned by a Latin American company! That's quite a symbol of Latin American economic ascendance. And somehow it landed on my very doorstep to boot.


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