Major Banana Producer Ordered to Pay Millions for Funding Terrorists

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jun.13 - 2024 4:43 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Massive Compensation for Families of Murdered Colombians

Trending Now

A federal court has ruled that multi-million dollar compensation will be awarded to 16 family members of eight Colombians murdered by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The AUC, a right-wing paramilitary group known for its brutal executions and involvement in the cocaine trade, operated from 1997 to 2008, and was on the U.S. Department of State's list of terrorist organizations until 2014.

The European Union had delisted the group three years earlier. The AUC was infamous for its violent tactics against leftist guerrillas and civilians during Colombia's prolonged conflict.

Chiquita's Financial Support for Terrorists

According to Reuters, the court found that Chiquita Brands International made payments totaling $1.7 million to the AUC from 1997 to 2004. This financial support reportedly enabled the AUC to expand its terrorist activities in two regions of Colombia.

The jury determined that Chiquita knowingly funded the AUC, despite the company's defense that the payments were meant to ensure the safety of its employees. The court concluded that the payments were made to protect Chiquita's business interests in Colombia.

Long-Standing Legal Battle

The trial in Florida lasted six weeks, with the jury deliberating for two days before reaching a verdict. The lawsuit, initially filed in 2007, was later merged with other lawsuits into a single proceeding.

This is not the first time Chiquita has faced legal repercussions for its ties to the AUC; in 2007, another U.S. court fined the company for similar activities. At that time, Chiquita admitted to making payments to the AUC from 2001 to 2004.

This recent ruling underscores the ongoing legal and ethical challenges faced by corporations involved in international conflicts.