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CITY BEAT: Terrorism and bananas

November 13th, 2009

By Kevin Osborne

Protesters will be ready to greet investors next week as Chiquita holds its annual stockholders meeting in downtown Cincinnati.

Two human rights groups — 8th Day Center for Justice and Witness for Peace — will demonstrate in an effort to hold Chiquita executives accountable for company payments made to terrorist groups in Colombia, payments the groups allege led to the murders of thousands of peasants and workers in the region.

In March 2007, Chiquita pleaded guilty to paying a Colombian terrorist group (AUC) more than $1.7 million during a six-year period, from 1997-2004. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Chiquita will pay a $25 million criminal fine over five years.

The U.S. Justice Department lists about 50 payments made by Chiquita after the U.S. State Department designated the AUC as a terrorist organization in 2001. Despite warnings from their lawyers, Chiquita made at least 19 of the payments after the company voluntarily disclosed the payments to Justice Department officials in April 2003.

“No compensation will be paid to the families of the victims,” an 8th Day press release stated. “Join the demonstration in Cincinnati to hold Chiquita accountable for its human rights crimes. Remind the Chiquita shareholders that they are complicit in the crimes committed by the paramilitary troops.”

To read the article in the City Beat, click here



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