Food and Beverage Business

Chiquita is legally required to pay compensation for supporting Colombian terrorists

Chiquita is legally required to pay compensation for supporting Colombian terrorists Chiquita Brands International Food and Beverage Business Chiquita

Chiquita Brands International has been directed by a US court to pay $38.3m in damages to the families of victims murdered by a Colombia paramilitary group.

The banana supplier based in North Carolina was found to have funded the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), deemed a terrorist organization by the US, as far back as 1997.

Following a guilty plea by Chiquita in 2007, damages were awarded by a south Florida jury to the affected families. EarthRights International, a US-based human rights organization, filed a class-action lawsuit in 2007 when the company failed to compensate the victims’ families.

EarthRights International stated, “The jury’s decision confirms that Chiquita knowingly supported the AUC, a designated terrorist organization, for profit, despite the AUC’s severe human rights violations.”

The organization also highlighted that there may be more victims of Chiquita’s actions, with additional cases yet to be resolved through trials or settlements.

Marco Simons, EarthRights International’s general counsel, emphasized, “This verdict conveys a strong message to corporations worldwide: profiting from human rights abuses will have consequences.”

Chiquita expressed intentions to appeal the verdict, maintaining that there is no legal basis for the claims against them, despite acknowledging the tragic situation in Colombia.

According to EarthRights International, Chiquita’s guilty plea resulted from an investigation by the US Justice Department, revealing illegal payments to the AUC, aiding in their operations.

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, representing the plaintiffs, alleged that Chiquita’s payments facilitated the AUC’s illicit activities, including trafficking arms and drugs.

Agnieszka Fryszman, chair of Cohen Milstein’s human rights practice, commended the plaintiffs for seeking justice and holding Chiquita accountable for their actions.

The damages awarded to the victims mark the initial phase of legal proceedings, with more cases to follow in the coming months.

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