The American fruit giant Chiquita has been hit with a new lawsuit on behalf of victims of Colombian paramilitaries. Earlier this year Chiquita admitted to paying one point seven million dollars to a right-wing Colombian paramilitary group on the U.S. terrorist watch list. On Wednesday, nearly four hundred Colombian plaintiffs filed a civil suit seeking almost eight billion dollars in damages. Plaintiff attorney Jonathan Reiter said Chiquita should be held accountable for the killings it helped fund: "The principle on which this lawsuit has been brought is that when you put money into the hands of terrorists, when you put guns into the hands of terrorists, then you are legally responsible for the atrocities, the murders and the tortures which those terrorists commit."Why am I not surprised?
Chiquita says it fell victim to an extortion attempt and made the payments only to protect its employees. But a private investigator hired by the plaintiffs disputed Chiquita’s denials. The investigator, William Acosta, says his findings leave no doubt over Chiquita’s complicity: "Most of the victims during our interviews in Colombia always mention Chiquita as being the party which sends people to threaten them."
Chiquita is already facing another lawsuit from relatives of one-hundred forty-four people killed by Colombian paramilities. The company has paid a twenty-five million dollar fine to the U.S. government, but none of the money has gone to the victims’ families.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Chiquita Banana Update
Thanks to SeeingBlack.com, I learned the following: