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BTL:Fruit/Chemical Companies File $17 Billion Countersuit Against...

...Sick Nicaraguan Banana Workers Interview with Kathy Hoyt, co-coordinator of the Nicaragua Network, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
Fruit/Chemical Companies File $17 Billion Countersuit Against Sick Nicaraguan Banana Workers

Interview with Kathy Hoyt, co-coordinator of the Nicaragua Network, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

As many as 20,000 banana workers and their families in Nicaragua are suffering serious health problems, including sterility and birth defects from the use of nemagon, a pesticide, that was banned for use in the U.S. in 1979. Five hundred banana workers filed a lawsuit in Nicaraguan courts that won a $500 million judgment against U.S.-based companies Dole, Dow and Shell, but the companies refused to recognize the judgment. They attacked the Nicaraguan law that was enacted to allow the affected banana workers to sue the chemical and fruit companies. Dole in particular claims it is environmentally and socially responsible on its banana plantations. The three companies recently counter-sued the claimants for fraud, claiming not everyone included in the suit worked at the affected plantations. The companies are seeking $17 billion in damages.

Recently, thousands of banana workers and their supporters marched from Chinandega, in the north of Nicaragua, to Managua, the capital, to publicize their plight and to demand support from Nicaragua's President Enrique Bolanos.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Kathy Hoyt, co-coordinator of the Nicaragua Network, a solidarity organization that is supporting the demands of the banana workers for justice in the case. She talks about the difficulties the workers face and their campaign to enlist the support of both the U.S. and Nicaraguan governments to influence a settlement with the companies.

For information on how to contact Dole, Dow and Shell and the U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua call the network at (202) 544-9355 or visit the group's website at

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
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