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Chiquita Brands, Colombia


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.

In April 2015 the US Supreme Court concluded it is not under its jurisdiction to decide on the accusations against the American company for its activities in Colombia. The company remains unpunished by Colombian justice too while local NGOs still denounce the violence suffered by local population in behalf of Chiquita Brands.

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

Chiquita sigue en Colombia, El Espectador

Chiquita Brands busca anular demandas de colombianos por apoyo a AUC, EL Pais, 21/09/2013

Esto no huele bien: el caso Chiquita, Semana, 31/03/2012

Chiquita lawsuits (re Colombia), Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Los 'pecados' de Chiquita Brands, El Espectador, 10/12/2012

Lo que prueban los memorandos de Chiquita Brands , 11/04/2011

Reapertura de caso Chiquita Brands enreda a seis empresas, El Tiempo, December 2012

El gran traspié de Chiquita, A. Goodman, 25/07/2007

Crímenes de Chiquita Brands siguen impunes en Colombia, 22/06/2015

Corte de Estados Unidos rechaza demandas colombianas contra empresa Chiquita Brands, 20/04/2015 El Heraldo

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

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

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Las Victimas del Banano el Caso Chiquita 3 de 3, by Holman Morris

Las Victimas del Banano el Caso Chiquita 2 de 3, by Holman Morris

Las Victimas del Banano el Caso Chiquita 1 de 3, by Holman Morris

Meta information

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



Chiquita Brands plantation in Colombia

E Heraldo