Chiquita sued over Colombia role
US banana company Chiquita Brands
was hand in hand with
US Designated-Terrorist Group
US banana company Chiquita Brands has been sued by the relatives of people killed by a paramilitary group the firm has admitted to doing business with.
Earlier this year, Chiquita said it paid the United Self Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) about $1.7m (£860,000) for the “protection” of its workers.
The AUC is a US designated-terrorist group and Chiquita agreed to pay $25m to end a Justice Department probe.
Chiquita traces its roots back to 1870 and is one of the largest banana firms.
As well as Colombia, the main banana exporting nations are Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Philippines. More…
Some Background on the AUC
United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia
The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, or AUC, in Spanish), were formed in April 1997 as an umbrella paramilitary federation seeking to consolidate many local and regional paramilitary groups in Colombia, each intending to protect different local economic, social and political interests by fighting insurgents in their areas. AUC itself previously estimated that it had authority over most of the paramilitary forces within Colombia, with the remainder being independent or splinter factions. It is estimated that it has more than 20,000 militants. The AUC is considered to be a terrorist organization by multiple countries and organizations, including the United States and the European Union.
The AUC claims its primary objective is to protect its sponsors and its supporters from insurgents and their activities, including kidnapping, murder and extortion, because the Colombian state has historically failed to do so. The AUC now asserts itself as a regional and national counter-insurgent force. Former AUC supreme leader Carlos Castaño Gil in 2000 claimed 70 percent of the AUC’s operational costs were financed with drug-related earnings, the rest coming from “donations” from its sponsors.
The AUC’s main enemies are leftist insurgency groups, the FARC and ELN. All three are in the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations and also classified as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. The US State Department added the AUC to the list in 2001, condemning it for massacres, torture, and other human rights abuses.
According to the Colombian National Police, in the first ten months of 2000 the AUC conducted 804 assassinations, 203 kidnappings, and 75 massacres with 507 victims. The AUC claims the victims were mostly guerrillas or sympathizers. Combat tactics consist of conventional and guerrilla operations against main force insurgent units. AUC clashes with military and police units are increasing, although the group has traditionally avoided government security forces.
A February 2005 report by the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that, during 2004, “the AUC was responsible for 342 cases of violations of the cessation of hostilities. These include the presumed reincorporation of demobilized persons into its ranks, massacres, forced displacements, selective and systematic homicides, kidnappings, rape, disappearances, threats, intimidation and lootings. These actions took place in 11 departments and targeted the civilian population, in many cases indigenous communities.”
Some analysts and recent Human Rights Watch reports allege that numerous elements within the Colombian military and police have collaborated or continue to tolerate local AUC paramilitary groups. A number of these analysts may concede that there has been a noticeable reduction in such behavior in recent years and that there have been increasing efforts to combat paramilitary influence, but most consider that much more remains to be done and thus they remain seriously critical of this situation. More…
If this is what has been going on for the sake of Banana Profits
just imagine what is going on for the sake of Oil Profits!
Tags: AUC, Banana Profits, BBC, Chiquita Banana Co., Colombia, Latin America, Oil Profits, United Self Defence Forces of Colombia, US Designated-Terrorist Group