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Chiquita's Trail of Death and Corruption in Colombia

Chiquita Brands has a history of corruption in small ports like Turbo, Colombia. With the rise of Bush crony and Medellin cartel boss Alvaro Uribe Velez, they now act with complete impunity. Here are two typical vignetttes: one of corruption and another of terrorism.
(1) Nolo Contendre to violation of SEC regulations
(2) How Paramilitaries Clear the Land for Corporations: A Firsthand Account
(1) Nolo Contendre to violation of SEC regulations.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Washington, D.C.

Litigation Release No. 17169 / October 3, 2001
Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 1464

SEC v. Chiquita Brands International, Inc., Civ. Action No. 1 01CV02079
(D.D.C.)(filed October 3, 2001)

Sec Settles Case against Chiquita Brands International, Inc.

The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued a settled
cease-and-desist order against Chiquita Brands International, Inc. in
which the Commission finds that Chiquita violated the books and
records -- Section 13(b)(2)(A) -- and internal accounting controls --
Section 13(b)(2)(B) -- provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 in connection with a payment to foreign customs officials by a
wholly-owned foreign subsidiary of Chiquita. Without admitting or
denying the Commission's findings, Chiquita consented to the entry of
an order that requires Chiquita to cease and desist from violating
those provisions. The Commission also filed a settled complaint in
federal court seeking entry of a consent order requiring Chiquita to
pay a $100,000 civil penalty. Chiquita settled the action without
admitting or denying the Commission's allegations.

The order finds that Chiquita violated the books and records and
internal controls provisions as a result of the conduct of its
Colombian subsidiary, Banadex. According to the order, without the
knowledge or consent of any Chiquita employees outside Colombia and in
contravention of Chiquita's policies, employees of Banadex authorized
the payment of the equivalent of $30,000 to local customs officials to
secure renewal of a license at Banadex's Turbo, Colombia port
facility. The subsidiary's books and records incorrectly identified
the two installment payments, which were made in 1996 and 1997. In
1997, Chiquita's internal audit staff discovered the payment during an
audit review and, after an internal investigation, Chiquita took
corrective action which included terminating the responsible Banadex
employees and reinforcing internal controls at Banadex.

(2) How Paramilitaries Clear the Land for Corporations: A Firsthand Account

- We haven't always lived here in Turbo. We used to live in a village in the countryside. But we had to run away and leave everything, relates Maria.

Soldiers came
It was four year ago. Even as they walked into the village the villagers saw that the soldiers hadn't come there to act nice.
- Papa became paralyzed with fear and closed the door. Mama and we children stopped talking and just sat there quietly and waited. Suddenly there was a pounding on the door and the soldiers rushed in. They screamed at mother and father that they had to leave immediately, otherwise they would kill us all!.
Maria hasn't forgotten what happened.
- They shot several farmers in the head, over and over again. I was so afraid that I shook and my little brother Juan hid under the bed.
- One of the soldiers grabbed papa, threw him out on to the road and said that we had to leave. If we stayed we would die. Papa spoke with Mama and said that the children must be taken to safety. He went in to town to find us a place to stay. We children stayed with mama in the village. Some weeks later we learned a terrible thing. Papa was dead!

Left everything
- Someone had followed papa to town, forced their way into the house where he lived and shot him. When mama heard this she decided that we too had to escape. We left everything, our fields, house, all our furniture and ran away to town.
- We were lucky. The priest put our names down on a list of people who would be given land on which to build a new home. We are now eight people. Myself and mother, her companion and five siblings.
- I go to school, but it's hard to get enough money to pay for school, the books and school uniforms. Mama doesn't earn enough by working as a maid. But now she is learning to sew dresses so maybe we will get more money and all of the children will be able to go to school. Mama's dresses are very pretty, they could be worn by a queen or an angel.

Worried about Mama
The worst thing for Maria is when she hears shots in town or in the refugee neighborhood where she lives...

This story continues at KORUBO: a website about the Amazon Tribes.
DOGSPOT will continue with the next puzzle piece in this series: the recent crackdown on "Peace Communities" by the government of Alvaro Uribe Velez in Colombia.

David Roknich


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