On March 19, Chiquita Brands International, Inc. pleaded guilty to the charge of transacting with a terrorist organization, after years of making payments to the Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, which is known by the initials of its Spanish name, AUC. The AUC has been found to be involved in the killing of thousands of rural Colombians for suspected links to Marxist rebels, in addition to torture, kidnappings, rape, beatings, extortion and drug trafficking. Chiquita has agreed to pay a $25 million fine.
Meanwhile, we recently spoke with the management team at Oké USA, the first Fair Trade banana company in the US. While most conventional bananas are grown on plantations where workers are paid as little as $2 dollars a day, Oké provides a living wage to farmers who are part-owners of the company. This helps to ensure that unlike on conventional plantations, the children of banana workers are able to go to school, rather than being forced to supplement the family's income by laboring in the field. (Oh, and by the way, Oké doesn't do business with terrorists!)Learn more in our interview with Oké >>