Tillväxtfrämjande entreprenörer har fortsatt att på nygamla sätt, med hjälp av den mer eller mindre osynliga handen, skapa ett fördelaktigt företagsklimat och värja sig mot fackets maffiametoder.
[Frasse har ofta bra information om Colombia på sin blogg]
[Den här längre artikeln ger en ordentlig bakgrund. Nedan inklippt ett stycke]
Chiquita’s history in Colombia is more than a century old. Its roots grow out of the United Fruit Company, notorious in Latin America as a U.S. Army backed opponent to agrarian reform and agricultural workers’ unions. Though later known as United Brands in 1970, and then Chiquita in 1989, business in Latin America has continued in similar veins. In 1928, several thousand workers of Colombia’s banana plantations began a strike demanding written contracts, eight-hour days, six-day weeks and the elimination of food coupons. According to the United Fruit Historical Society, the strike turned into "the largest labor movement ever witnessed in the country." The strike continued in 1929, and received national attention and support from opposition political parties.
When the army fired on strikers during a demonstration in the city of Cienaga, killing a disputed number of workers (between 47 and 2,000), it created waves that contributed to the downfall of the Conservative Party and features in the masterworks of two famous Colombian authors. The Santa Marta Massacre, as it came to be known, appears in Álvaro Cepeda Samudio’s novel "La Casa Grande" (1962), and Gabriel García Márquez’s epic novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1966). Nobel-awarded Chilean writer Pablo Neruda also recognized the influence of the United Fruit Company with a chapter of the same name in his epic work "Canto General" about the history of Latin America.
Through out the 20th century, the company was infamous for using a combination of its financial clout, congressional influence and violent refusal to negotiate with striking workers to establish and maintain a colony of "banana republics" in Latin America. Often the CIA and the US Marines provided the company’s muscle, as in the case of the overthrow of the populist Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz in 1953. Currently, Chiquita employs most of its 45,000 workers in Honduras and Guatemala.