Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chiquita Brands Bribes The US Govt. To Cover Up Their Terrorism

Quite cheap too, so Chiquita pay Colombian AUC (right wing paramilitaries funded by the US and coordinating their killings with President Uribe and the Colombian military) terrorists to keep their banana plantations safe and productive and to keep workers under the gun.

Chiquita finally gets taken to court, they are found guilty, no one goes to prison, instead they pay $25 million to the US Govt. hush money.

Profits from their operations are at least $49 million, so overall they get away with murder and make $24 million in profit and their shares go up (ain't Wall Street grand?).

So do not under any circumstances buy their shitty bananas.

"Chiquita gives a lot of money to both political parties in the United States, has huge political influence, and the administration is petrified by the spectacle of this company,"

Which ranting lefty said that? erm UK Conservative politician Leon Brittan actually. Noreena Hertz used the influence Chiquita wields as an example of how our democracies have been replaced with corporatocracies-

“the ability of big business and its representatives to sidestep the controls imposed by governments is already apparent, as evidenced by the growing dominance of free trade interests in international decision making…In Geneva nations more or less owned by corporations are pitted against each other in the WTO arena, unable to decide for themselves how they and their citizens would like to live and trade. This is not good because the businesses will be thinking about what is in the best interest for them rather than the country and the citizens. The example she gave to describe had to do with Chiquita. The EW was trying to protect small producers of bananas; Chiquita persuaded US trade representatives that the policy was unfair and harmful to the interests of the US. The US administration then began to support Chiquita which also had to do with the fact the corporation donated so much money to both the major political parties in the US.

Now hearings are revealing the extent of the financial and moral corruption

The United States shares the blame for Colombia's suffering, a top Democrat said Thursday at a congressional hearing focusing on allegations that U.S. companies funded illegal right-wing militias that have killed hundreds of union activists in the Andean nation. "We are complicit in the devastation of that society," said Rep. Bill Delahunt, a Democrat. "So it is a moral imperative that requires us to help Colombia end that cycle of violence"

Delahunt, who chairs the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, spoke during a hearing in which Chiquita Brands International Inc. and the Alabama coal company Drummond Co. Inc. were singled as having close ties to Colombia's paramilitaries. Chiquita has acknowledged having paid paramilitaries $1.7 million (€1.3 million) in protection money over six years.

The president of Colombia's national mining union, Francisco Ramirez, claimed not just Chiquita and Drummond but also Coca-Cola, Occidental Petroleum, BP Amoco and Exxon Mobil were complicit in the killing of union activists in Colombia — either by paying paramilitaries or indirectly through the U.S. military aid for Colombian army units that he said committed the murders.

Korova reported recently on a lawsuit by families of murder victims of AUC paid by Chiquita on Chiquita plantations-

The Florida lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for families of 22 AUC victims, who lived on Chiquita plantations or in nearby villages in Colombia, plaintiffs' attorney William Wichmann said. The victims died between 1997 and 2004 in the banana-growing region of Uraba in northwestern Colombia.
“They were all murdered, including a teacher, a student and an 8-year-old child who was hit by a stray bullet, but nonetheless was murdered,” Wichmann said.

Some have called for the executives to be extradited and tried in Colombia, but Uribe is part of the mechanism of business and death squads with US and corporate slush funds that runs the client state of Colombia. Terrorism used to maintain and protect trade and profits for US corporations does not get treated as such in the 'war on terror', so justice might be a while coming yet.
h/t to Kyle at Immigration Orange