Board of directors of Chiquita brands International
along with the top level management who were
on the company payroll during the time of this
mass murder deserve to be lined up against the
wall and shot dead arbitrarily.
A taste of their own medicine.
Killing thousands of people over
BANANA'S IS SO INSANE !
It shows the contempt that corporations have
for Human life.
DEATH TO PSYCHOPATHIC CRIMINAL CORPORATIONS !
Coca Cola another company that kills Colombian workers
Chiquita's hundred year history in Colombia
Advocates for the families of 173 people murdered int he banana-growing regions of Colombia filed suit today against Chiquita Brands International, in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. The families allege that Chiquita paid millions of dollars, and tried to ship thousands of machine guns to the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, or AUC. The AUC is a violent, right-wing paramilitary organization supported by the Colombian army. In 2001, the Bush Administration classified the AUC as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization." Its units are often described as "death squads."
According to family representatives, the AUC was used to assassinate their husbands, wives and children, who were apparently interfering with Chiquita's financial interests. In the last ten years, more than ten thousand people have been murdered by the AUC, many of them in the banana zones where Chiquita financed the AUC's operations.
"This is a landmark case, maybe the biggest terrorism case in history," said Terry Collingsworth, who directs the litigation. "In terms of casualties, it's the size of three World Trade Center attacks." Collingsworth is already known in Colombia for his lawsuits against Coca Cola, Drummond, and Nestle for the targeted killings of union leaders by the AUC.
The case began with an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed criminal charges in March of this year. Chiquita not only admitted the truth of the charges, but agreed to cooperate in the DOJ's ongoing investigation.
Although Chiquita got off with a slap on the wrist- a $25 million dollar fine and no jail time for executives(WHAT THE FUCK !) – their admissions set the stage for a multi-billion dollar lawsuit. It could be the biggest wrongful death case in U.S. history, eventually involving thousands of victims.
"Chiquita's victims are living in dire poverty," said Paul Wolf, co-counsel in the case.
Wolf spent the month of May speaking to victims' groups in shanty towns where families seek refuge from the death squads, which continue to murder anyone perceived as an enemy. "Reparations can't bring back the dead, but there are a lot of widows and orphans with no means of support. Most of them have fled their homes, and don't know where their next meal will come from," observed Wolf.
As word of the lawsuit spreads, the number of families joining it has skyrocketed. "Putting Chiquita on trial for hundreds, or even thousands of murders could put them out of business. I guess this is the one scenario where I would support the death penalty - the death of a truly evil corporation," said Collingsworth, remarking on Chiquita's hundred year history in Colombia. For most of that time, Chiquita was known as the United Fruit Company.
For more information please call Paul Wolf at (202) 674-9653, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FACTS FROM COMPLAINT
From at least 1997 through February 4, 2004, Defendant Chiquita, through its Colombian subsidiary Banadex, paid money to the A.U.C. in the two regions of Colombia where it had banana-growing operations: Uraba and Santa Marta. Defendant Chiquita paid the A.U.C., directly or indirectly, nearly every month. From in or about 1997 through on or about February 4, 2004, defendant Chiquita made over 100 payments to the A.U.C. totaling over $1.7 million.
The amount of money paid to the A.U.C. was different every month. According to the testimony of A.U.C. commander Salvatore Mancuso in his criminal trial, the A.U.C. was paid a commission based on the number of boxes of bananas shipped by Defendant Chiquita each month. The A.U.C. waspaid to ensure that Chiquita's business ran smoothly.
Chiquita's payments were made either through the Papagayo Association, a paramilitary group licensed by the Colombian government, and then transferred to the A.U.C., or directly to Carlos Castaño, the leader and founder of the A.U.C.
Carlos Castano and other A.U.C. leaders comingled this money with other funds used to finance the A.U.C.'s activities throughout Colombia. The money provided by Chiquita financed the A.U.C. from its very first days in operation, making Chiquita one of the financial founders of the A.U.C.
Chiquita's payments to the A.U.C. were reviewed and approved by senior executives of the corporation, including high-ranking officers, directors and employees, described herein as John Does 1-10. Chiquita recorded these payments in its corporate books and records as "security payments."
According to the Colombian chief federal prosecutor's office, in November of 2001, a Banadex ship was used to smuggle 3,000 AK-47 assault rifles and more than 2.5 million bullets intended for the A.U.C. This shipment is also described in a 2003 report by the Organization of American States.
Giovanny Hurtado Torres, Banadex's legal representative, was imprisoned in Colombia over the arms-smuggling scheme.
Chiquita made these payments and shipped these weapons to the A.U.C. with knowledge of the A.U.C.'s activities, and against the advice of its own legal counsel.
According to notes taken by Chiquita's counsel, on or about April 4, 2003, John Doe 3 said "His and [John Doe 2's] opinion is just let them sue us, come after us. This is also [John Doe 1's] opinion."
Prior to the creation of the A.U.C. in 1997, Chiquita had paid money to other terrorist organizations operating in Colombia, which also murdered thousands of people.
The Conflict in Uraba
The main banana-producing region in Colombia, and the center of Defendant Chiquita's business activities, is on the eastern side of the Gulf of Uraba, on the north coast of Colombia near the border with Panama. This region consists of four municipios (administrative regions akin to counties in the U.S.): Apartado, Turbo, Carepa, and Chigorodo. (hereinafter referred to simply as "Uraba") The four muncipios are located in the department of Antioquia (an administrative region of Colombia akin to a U.S. state).
Uraba has long been a hotbed of discontent and armed conflict. Beginning in the mid-1980s, an armed left-wing guerrilla organization called the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionaries de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, hereinafter "F.A.R.C.") took military control of the Uraba region. At the same time, the Union Patriotica (Patriotic Union, hereinafter "U.P."), a political party formed by demobilized F.A.R.C. guerrillas, won elections throughout Uraba, taking control of key political offices. The Partido Comunista de Colombia (Communist Party of Colombia, hereinafter "P.C.C.") also had a strong presence in the region.
In addition, another left-wing guerrilla group called the Ejercito Popular de Liberacion (Popular Army of Liberation, hereinafter "EPL") were rivals of the F.A.R.C. and fought against the F.A.R.C. for control. After years of unsuccessfully battling the F.A.R.C. for control, in the early 1990s, the EPL allied with right-wing militias from the neighboring department of Cordoba, which came to Uraba to fight their common enemy, the F.A.R.C..
From about 1994 through 1996, the A.U.C. drove the F.A.R.C. out of Uraba, killing thousands of people suspected of supporting the F.A.R.C. guerrillas, or their legal political party, the U.P. From 1997 to today, the A.U.C. maintained a reign of terror in Uraba, killing anyone suspected
of sympathizing with the F.A.R.C.. The inhabitants of Uraba have organized various political projects to demonstrate their neutrality (such as the "peace communities", but are still caught in the crossfire. During the week that the Plaintiffs signed retainer agreements for this case, a
man was assassinated near San Jose de Apartado, and his murder was apparently not investigated.
According to statistics provided by the Colombian National Police, between 1997 and 2004, over 2700 people were murdered in the four municipalities of Apartado, Chigorodo, Carepa and Turbo. This figure does not include murders in the department of Magdelena, where Chiquita also had growing operations. The vast majority of these murders were committed by the
Chiquita's business boomed as the A.U.C. took over banana-growing lands and murdered thousands of people, including human rights workers, trade unionists, and politicians from the U.P.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes in Uraba by this conflict. Many of them live in "invasions" - slums constructed on public lands on the outskirts of Medellin, Cartagena, and elsewhere. The slum neighborhood of Policarpa in Apartado, where many of the Plaintiffs' live, is another example of an invasion. These neighborhoods do not
generally have water, sanitation, or electricity, and are located in areas where there are no employment opportunities. The displaced people choose to live there because they feel safer than if they lived in rural areas where they could be hunted down and killed by the A.U.C.
Also in the late 1990s, the A.U.C. took control of the Sintrainagro banana workers union, and drove the competing Fensuago union from the region. The Fensuagro workers were suspected of having sympathy for the F.A.R.C. guerrillas. Today, the main union for the people supplying bananas to Defendant Chiquita is controlled by the A.U.C. through demobilized A.U.C. fighters in leadership roles in the Sintrainagro union.
Chiquita also grew and bought bananas in five municipios in the department of Magdelena: Cordoba, Río Frio, Orihueca, Sevilla, Aracataca. Thes municipios are near to the town of Santa Marta, where Defendant Chiquita also made payments to the A.U.C. A similar level of violence has occurred in this region