Watch: Everyone knows about blood diamonds, but blood bananas? Watch this video for the real story behind your fruit.
A recent article by The Daily Beast revealed that Chiquita lobbied aggressively against a bill, supported by 9/11 victims, that would make it easier for U.S. terror victims to sue companies that sponsor terrorism. Why would a banana company do such a thing? Well, maybe it’s because of Chiquita’s conduct during Colombia’s decades-long civil war.
In 2007, the Justice Department fined Chiquita $25 million for paying the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a right-wing paramilitary group that maintained ties to the banana company from 1997 to 2004. And before that, Chiquita reportedly paid off left-wing guerrilla groups in Colombia, including the FARC and ELN.
In what were some of its most profitable years, Chiquita peeled off resources to both sides in a bloody civil war that claimed thousands of lives, and displaced or disappeared thousands more in the country’s main banana-growing region. Chiquita has always claimed they were extorted, but Michael Evans from the National Security Archive, a DC non profit, says he’s got company documents to prove that’s not true.
“They are definitely trying to hide something,” he says.
Fusion’s Connie Fossie contributed reporting to this piece.