Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle ! As I was going through the Jungle of links that I read every night I got to an amazing report on Douglas Farah’s Column. It seems that Chiquita, the produce company has been making payments to FARC the Columbia Terrorist organization. This isn’t the first time that Chiquita has been associated with terrorists. In 2003, a report by the Organization of American States said that a ship used by Chiquita’s Colombian subsidiary may also have been used for an illicit shipment of 3,000 rifles and 2.5 million bullets for Colombian paramilitary groups.
The relatives of five American missionaries who were abducted and murdered by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have filed suit against Chiquita Brands International Inc., accusing the banana company of secretly financing and arming the rebel (and terrorist) group. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges the banana company knowingly and willfully provided the FARC with protection money and weapons in the late 1990s. The case sheds much-needed light on the role that U.S.-based companies (and certainly others) play in fomenting conflicts that cost thousands of lives. Chiquita has admitted to being one of them. The new suit is part a series of legal battles Chiquita has been fighting since the Cincinnati-based company acknowledged paying armed parties in the Colombia conflict. Last year Chiquita agreed to pay a $25 million fine to settle Justice Department charges in these matters. It is often forgotten that the FARC has abducted and killed U.S. citizens throughout its history. None except the three U.S. contractors being held now had anything to with the war on drugs or Colombia’s internal strife. For all it Bolivarian rhetoric and calls for a “humanitarian” agreement, the group has a remarkable track record of shedding innocent blood. And Chiquita, it seems, in the interest of protecting its profits, made several costly deals with numerous devils in the Colombian conflict. Unfortunately for Colombia, it chose the two worst groups to try to pay off so bananas could keep flowing north. It has been documented that Chiquita paid money to the right-wing United Self Defense Forces (also drug traffickers, and also designated terrorist entity) in the Uraba region. The company acknowledged paying the money. “Our actions were always motivated to protect the lives of our employees and their families,” company spokesman Ed Loyd told the Wall Street Journal. “We are contesting the suits vigorously and believe we have a strong defense.” The missionaries were kidnapped in Panama (another cross-border incursion by the FARC), held, and eventually executed when the New Tribes Mission could not or would not pay the multi-million dollar ransom the FARC demanded. Here is the gist of what the law suit alleges, making it clear that the company never bothered to tell the grieving families of Chiquita’s role in funding the FARC. It may be enough to make you give up bananas, as it was for me:
Although Plaintiffs confirmed years ago that FARC was the entity or organization that carried out the kidnappings and murders, Plaintiffs did not learn until recently about Chiquita’s involvement in funding and providing other material support to FARC. Indeed, to this day, the full scope, including dollar amounts, timing, mechanisms, andanti-detection methods employed by Chiquita in connection with its FARC-related conduct ismurky, and demands document and testimonial discovery. It was not until March 19, 2007 that Plaintiffs learned, through filings made public by the DOJ, in regard to Chiquita’s illegal payments to another Colombian FTO, that Chiquita had, in prior periods, made illegal and secret payments to FARC as well.
To conceal its unlawful conduct from both Colombian and U.S. authorities andprevent disclosure of the facts to Plaintiffs, Defendant funneled weapons to FARC (and assisted FARC in the transport of weapons) through Defendant’s local transportation contractors. As alleged above, Chiquita also falsified payroll records used to divert funds from non-existentemployees to FARC, used existing contracts with legitimate organizations to bury and disguise 33 payments, or drew up phony contracts with legitimate vendors as a means of falsifying the payments and booking them as legitimate expenses. As alleged supra, Chiquita also secretly concealed payments to local labor unions that it knew, or consciously avoided knowing, were controlled by FARC and made other clandestine payments through FARC-established fronts and dummy companies. Wow. And now we have evidence the FARC is kidnapping people, producing cocaine and building front companies. A sad and bloody story that will not end soon, and is dragged on by companies like Chiquita who place their business ventures with terrorists above human life.