According to various news outlets, Chiquita admitted paying Colombian paramilitaries $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004. Now, the U.S. district judge has ruled, company executives can be held liable for financing the right-wing death squads, according to this story from TeleSur.
Families of victims murdered by Colombian paramilitaries are one step closer to achieving justice for their loved ones as a United States judge gave the green light for a federal lawsuit against former executives of the U.S. fruit company Chiquita, the organization Earth Rights International announced on Thursday.
The ruling in favor of moving forward with the case comes as a victory in the fight for corporate accountability for human rights abuses, giving rights defenders and the families of victims a chance to see justice served against the backers of death squad violence in Colombia.
“Corporations do not act without individuals,” ERI General Counsel Marco Simons said in a statement Thursday. “The court’s decision ensures that these individuals, whose alleged conduct helped enable a reign of terror, cannot hide from their wrongdoing.”
Chiquita might invoke the famous schoolyard “he did it too” defense.
Chiquita is far from the only corporate sponsor of death squad terror in Colombia, which has proved to be a hotbed for corporate abuses. Between 1990 and 2002, Coca-Cola allegedly hired hitmen from the AUC to murder at least 10 labor union leaders linked to organizing the company’s plants.
And you thought sodas only increased you risk of slow death.
Have a Coke and a smile.