Four months ago, I posted about the $25 Million judgment against Chiquita Banana for funding death squads in the Choco valley. The result of their actions was the murder and/or displacement of primarily Afro-Colombians and indigenous groups living on the fertile edge of Colombia, the formation of an already marginalized population into exploitable urban poor, & the opening of lands not only to global capital exploitation but also the drug trade and its associated paramilitaries.
Now Earth Rights International & The Colombian Institute of International Law have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of six family members of people killed by Chiquita paid militias. Among these six are several women activists who feared for their own lives while standing against the tide of global capitalism. The hope is to convict Chiquita of violating U.S. Law, Colombian law, and International Human Rights law.
If the case is successful, it would be the second major victory in international courts involving land disputes, human rights, and MNCs. Other important victories include the Western Shoshone against U.S. government for nuclear testing, mining corporations poisoning the land, terrorizing and threatening members of the nation, and using antiquated racial laws to justify their actions. In fact, as Evo Morales claimed in his inaugural speech in Bolivia, the 500 years of exploitation of indigenous land for global profit will come to an end at the hands of indigenous leadership. (read more about indigenous cases here)
These cases open the door not only for a re-examination of neo-liberal economic policies and global capitalism, but also may make the cost of doing business at the expense of people is no longer profitable. Since profit and not human dignity motivates companies like this one, it may be the message necessary for finding a better way.
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- Chiquita Banana logo
- “Banana Republic Soldier” photographer: The Eye Ball Kid. flickr
- Evo Morales w/ indigenous women. unattributed.