Thursday, March 15, 2007


Bananas you ate might have been helping to pay terrorist organizations in Colombia. Chiquita has been fined $25 million for protection money it paid to the AUC, ELN and the FARC (all of whom are also fighting each other) between 1997 and 2004. In what has to be one of the understatements of the year, company attorneys had indicated the payments were “improper.”

Chiquita traces its history back to United Fruit, which started breaking up in 1958 after an anti-trust lawsuit. United Fruit, of course, is the most famous (or infamous) company ever to operate in Latin America, as its monopoly status and close ties to the U.S. government gave it an enormous amount of power.

It is incredible how the seemingly innocent banana has contributed to so much suffering. There is a certain logic (even if perverse) to the violence associated with diamonds and gold, which are items humans have coveted for centuries. They are, however, not nearly as mundane and familiar as something you give your kids at lunch.


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