For 14 years, Chiquita Brands International has been linked to guerrilla groups and the right-wing paramilitary group AUC in Colombia. These groups would protect Chiquita Brand International and in turn Chiquita paid them. In March 2007, Chiquita pleaded guilty to paying over 1 million dollars and illegally distributing guns to these groups. Their punishment was a $25 million dollar fine to be paid over the next five years.
Recently released documents reveal that the US Justice Department knew of these events, which implicates the US government in aiding and abetting Chiquita Brand International by covering up their illegal activities. The United States’ knowledge and lack of response can be understood in terms of US corporate interests and US government support of the Colombian guerrilla groups.
The United States is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia that would perpetuate the paramilitary death squads in support of the palm oil companies that they serve. Thousands of Colombian citizens will be displaced to accommodate the FTA, adds to the nation’s already displaced peoples, which number in the millions. US involvement in Colombia contributes to violence, displacement, and loss of livelihood for thousands.
Title: “Colombia: Chiquita Murders and Free Trade”
Author: Dan Kavalik
Publication Source: Task Force on the Americas Report
Date: May 16, 2011
Student Researcher: Alyssa Hara, Sonoma State University
Faculty Researcher: Suzel Bozada-Deas, Sonoma State University