Banana giant Chiquita to pay millions over human rights abuses

You see the term 'Banana Republic' frequently here..usually by folks that have not a clue as to what it means or how it came about...well, Chiquita and United Fruit are the ones who invented the banana republic...corrupting and taking over complete states in their quest for cheap fruit and shareholder profits.
Of note, this is the very first time a US company has been held liable for human rights violations in a foreign country.

Finally a win..and exposure of methods that have been typical by US businesses in Latin America for 200 years.

Banana company Chiquita Brands International has been found liable for financing a far-right Colombian paramilitary group and ordered to pay $38.3 million in damages to the families of eight men killed by the group during the country's civil war, a federal jury in Florida decided.

The landmark ruling Monday comes after 17 years of legal proceedings, marking the first time the corporate giant has been found liable for similar lawsuits for those victimized by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the plaintiffs' attorneys said.

In 2007, Chiquita pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in transactions with a "specially designated global terrorist" and was ordered to pay a $25 million fine, the Justice Department said at the time. The company was accused of making illegal payments to the AUC, a paramilitary group known for mass killing, kidnapping civilians and mutilating their corpses.

The case, originally filed by the nonprofit EarthRights International in 2007, was followed by several other cases in 2008, the nonprofit said. A team of law firms across the United States has been representing more than 5,000 Colombians in the proceeding. Trials for additional victims will follow in July, according to attorneys

Monday's verdict, which came after a six-week trial and two days of deliberations, also marks the first time a major U.S. corporation was found liable for its role in human rights abuses abroad, attorneys said. The ruling could affect similar litigations that involve such violations.

"This verdict sends a powerful message to corporations everywhere: profiting from human rights abuses will not go unpunished. These families, victimized by armed groups and corporations, asserted their power and prevailed in the judicial process," Marco Simons, EarthRights International General Counsel and one of the plaintiff's attorneys, said in a statement.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Chiquita said it intends to appeal the jury's verdict.

"The situation in Colombia was tragic for so many, including those directly affected by the violence there, and our thoughts remain with them and their families," the company said. "However, that does not change our belief that there is no legal basis for these claims."
I saw a doc about these scum bags 20 years ago. They were bastards then. Always bought Caribean bananas since then.

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