Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Colombia: Judge approves Chiquita plea deal

A U.S. court agreed yesterday to a plea deal involving Chiquita Brands’ funding of Colombian paramilitary and guerilla groups. The arrangement- which had been reached earlier this year- obligates the banana firm to create an ethics commission as well as pay a $25 million fine for hiring illegal rebel factions as “protection” for nearly a decade.

In addition, the Justice Department issue a memo last week absolving ten Chiquita executives involved in the payoffs “based solely on the merits and the evidence” against them.

The Colombian media has greeted the court’s decision with anger; a headline in El Tiempo notes that the fine against Chiquita "is four times less than the one against McLaren’s Formula 1 racing team”, while political commentator Juan Gossain asks if the fine is “the historic price for our dignity?”

The Colombian government is not too pleased with the plea deal as Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo said:

“From our perspective the U.S. justice system has specific parameters that we respect, yet a doubting public opinion views that such an important case does not lead to the conviction of at least one person.”

Sources (English)- International Herald Tribune, Reuters, BBC News

Sources (Spanish)- El Tiempo, RCN

Image- RCN


kyledeb said...

Thanks for picking this up and covering the Colombian side of this. It took the Associated Press a little bit of time to do the same.

kyledeb said...

Sorry I meant to finish my last comment by asking you if you wanted to join a group of bloggers in calling for a boycott of Chiquita