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Chiquita Brands, Colombia

Chiquita Brands enjoys impunity in spite of the fact it has been proved it has repeatedly remunerated paramilitary forces oppressing the local population.


Chiquita Brands was initially the United Fruit Company, famous in Colombia for the massacre of workers in 1928 in Cienaga. Chiquita Brands International is now a leading international marketer and distributor of fresh food and related products. It is one of the largest banana distributors in the world and it has been operating in Colombia since last century. National and International labour, environmental and human rights protection advocates have denounced Chiquita Brands for its environmental, social and health impacts caused by the violation of the basic rights of banana plantations workers and the financing of paramilitary groups in order to suppress protest. Forjando Futuro is a foundation helping those dispossed. In 2012 it announced that there was an estimate of 19.5 USD million that Chiquita has paid paramilitary groups un Uraba but that the true figure acknowledged by the paramilitary themselves was 40 USD million. Among the paramilitary forces, the AUC, a terrorist group, was paid too by Chiquita Brands. There were several court cases opened in the United States and in Colombia against Chiquita Brands.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Chiquita Brands, Colombia
State or province:Antioquia and Magdalena
Location of conflict:Uraba
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Military installations
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:17000
Type of populationUnknown
Start of the conflict:28/11/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Chiquita Brands International
Relevant government actors:Government of Colombia;, Armed Forces;
International and Finance InstitutionsOrganization of American States (OAS)
European Union (EU)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Lawyers collective “José Alvear Restrepo” (CCAJAR), Corporación Jurídica Libertad (CJL), Rainforest Alliance - USA, Fundación Ambio de Costa Rica, Tsuli Tsuli/Adubon - Colombia, Earth Right Internacional, Peuples Solidaires, Fundación Forjando Futuros
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Trade unions
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Air pollution, Desertification/Drought
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:Indemnities for displacement by paramilitary groups paid for by Chuqita, workers also demand a decent salary.
They are desperate about the stop of the use of pesticides in the cropping fields. They also want their land back, they don t want to continue being displaced.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although these violations have led to judicial activism, no relevant court decisions have been given yet in favor of the affected population.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Convention 169 ILO

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Chiquita en colombia, caso de estudio
[click to view]

Chiquita sigue en Colombia, El Espectador
[click to view]

Chiquita Brands busca anular demandas de colombianos por apoyo a AUC, EL Pais, 21/09/2013
[click to view]

Esto no huele bien: el caso Chiquita, Semana, 31/03/2012
[click to view]

Chiquita lawsuits (re Colombia), Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
[click to view]

Los 'pecados' de Chiquita Brands, El Espectador, 10/12/2012
[click to view]

Lo que prueban los memorandos de Chiquita Brands , 11/04/2011
[click to view]

Reapertura de caso Chiquita Brands enreda a seis empresas, El Tiempo, December 2012
[click to view]

El gran traspié de Chiquita, A. Goodman, 25/07/2007
[click to view]

Crímenes de Chiquita Brands siguen impunes en Colombia, 22/06/2015
[click to view]

Corte de Estados Unidos rechaza demandas colombianas contra empresa Chiquita Brands, 20/04/2015 El Heraldo
[click to view]

La Corte de EE.UU. desestima cargos contra Chiquita Brands por pago a paramilitares, el Pais, 24/07/2014
[click to view]

Chiquita Brands trata de que no se difunda su vinculación con el paramilitarismo en Colombia, El Público, 16/05/2013
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Las Victimas del Banano el Caso Chiquita 3 de 3, by Holman Morris
[click to view]

Las Victimas del Banano el Caso Chiquita 2 de 3, by Holman Morris
[click to view]

Las Victimas del Banano el Caso Chiquita 1 de 3, by Holman Morris
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl & Joan Martinez Alier & Talia Waldron
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:527
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