Family members of Colombians killed by left-wing guerrillas and the AUC paramilitary group brought ATS, TVPA, state law, and Colombian law claims against Chiquita, a company that provided substantial support to both left-wing guerrilla groups and the AUC.
On May 18, 2017 on behalf of affected Colombian communities, a coalition of human rights groups called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the complicity of executives at Chiquita Brands International in crimes against humanity. To date, no executive has been held to account despite the company’s admission that it funneled millions of dollars to Colombian paramilitaries that killed, raped, and disappeared civilians. If the ICC takes up the case, it would be the first time it moved against corporate executives for assisting such crimes.
Chiquita’s Colombia-based staff questioned the company’s payments to illegal armed groups, and asked whether Chiquita had gone beyond extortion and was directly funding the activities of leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups, even while top company executives became “comfortable” with the idea.This is the second in a series of stories jointly published by the National Security Archive and VerdadAbierta.com documenting how the world’s most famous banana company financed terrorist groups in Colombia.
The New Chiquita Papers are the result of a seven-year legal battle waged by the National Security Archive against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and later Chiquita itself, for access to tens of thousands of records produced by the company during an investigation of illicit payments made in Colombia.
The Archive has used these records to identify individual Chiquita executives who approved and oversaw years of payments to groups responsible for countless human rights violations in Colombia, but whose roles in the affair have been unknown or unclear until now.
Ten years ago, Chiquita Brands International became the first U.S.-based corporation convicted of violating a U.S. law against funding an international terrorist group—the paramilitary United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). But punishment for the crime was reserved only for the corporate entity, while the names of the individual company officials who engineered the payments have since remained hidden behind a wall of impunity.
As Colombian authorities now prepare to prosecute business executives for funding groups responsible for major atrocities during Colombia’s decades-old conflict, a new set of Chiquita Papers, made possible through the National Security Archive’s FOIA lawsuit, has for the first time made it possible to know the identities and understand the roles of the individual Chiquita executives who approved and oversaw years of payments to groups responsible for countless human rights violations in Colombia.
Companies who financed paramilitary death squads in Colombia’s banana growing region, including Chiquita’s subsidiary, will face charges for crimes against humanity, the Prosecutor General’s Office said Thursday. The prosecution decision is unprecedented as never before have private enterprises been charged with crimes against humanity.
Multinational companies have benefited as paramilitaries have violently evicted thousands of people from their land, clearing the way for large-scale mining, oil or agro-industrial projects. These companies are knowingly operating in a country where death squads suppress dissent by targeting community activists and trade unionists...There is almost total impunity for the security forces and their paramilitary allies who target land activists and community leaders and those who have protested against large-scale mining, oil and agro-industrial projects.
On November 29, 2016, a federal court in Florida issued a long-awaited ruling denying Chiquita’s last effort to have the case dismissed brought by thousands of Colombian nationals who sued Chiquita for funding the AUC paramilitary units that murdered their family members.
Human rights defenders and families of victims are one step closer to justice for Colombian labor leaders and other activists murdered at the hands of right-wing paramilitaries paid by U.S. banana giant Chiquita Brands as a U.S. court gave the green light Wednesday for the trial to move forward against the company and its top executives.
Coca Cola is one of more than 50 companies facing terrorism support charges in Colombia. Among those companies are Chiquita and Drummond, both of which International Rights Advocates are actively litigating in US courts for their involvement in human rights violations in Colombia.
To read more, see here: http://colombiareports.com/coca-cola-facing-terrorism-support-charges-co...