Banana Republic Is Not Just Trendy Clothes

Chiquita BananaI’ve always wanted to walk into a Banana Republic and ask one of the employees if they know what a Banana Republic is. I’m still amazed that we the people are so ignorant that it is acceptable to purchase apparel from a company named after fruit companies exploitation of Central and South American countries and people.

Think that’s something in the past? 60 Minutes recently featured a story called The Price of Bananas covering Chiquita’s recent acknowledgment that it paid nearly $2 million in protection money to paramilitary groups in Colombia violating US anti-terror laws.

Think Jesus doesn’t fit in? Think again. The wives of two murdered missionaries are suing Chiquita for payments they made to the FARC a Colombian revolutionary group. Chiquita recently pled guilty to violating anti-terrorism laws. Christianity Today said this…

The suit alleges Chiquita is culpable in the deaths of their husbands, all of whom were NTM missionaries. FARC kidnapped and later killed the men in a pair of 1993–94 incidents in Columbia and Panama.

According to the suit, the Cincinnati-based company provided money, weapons, and other support to FARC.

(…)

Chiquita has defended its actions as the cost of doing business and protecting its employees in Colombia. Spokesman Ed Loyd said terrorists murdered 30 of its people in the 1990s.

“This wasn’t a philosophical threat,” Loyd said. “This was a situation where a large number of our employees were killed. Thirty is what I’m aware of, but frankly there may be others.”

Nor did Chiquita try to hide its actions, Loyd said. After becoming aware of a change in federal law in 2001, he said Chiquita notified the U.S. Department of Justice about its payments. That sparked a four-year-long investigation, which culminated in the company’s guilty plea last year.

(…)

“Chiquita had a choice whether to deal with the terrorists or not. If they felt they had to deal with the terrorists or not be in Colombia at all, they could have chosen not to be in Colombia,” Julin said. “They chose to work with these terrorists.”

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