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US Chiquita Brands ordered to pay compensation of US$38.3 million in Colombia

US Chiquita Brands ordered to pay compensation of US$38.3 million in Colombia

A federal jury in Florida (USA) ruled this Monday that the multinational banana Chiquita Brands International, accused of financing paramilitary groups in Colombia that left thousands dead in that country, will have to pay US$38.3 million to plaintiffs and relatives of the victims.

The ruling in the civil trial in a West Palm Beach court, after a decade of litigation, states that Chiquita did not prove that “the assistance he provided” to the paramilitary group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) to protect its employees from violence was the result of a “illegal, immediate and imminent threat” by this terrorist group.

He also failed Little girl Show that “I had no other reasonable alternative.” than “provide assistance to the AUC”, according to the verdict to which EFE had access.

The ruling also indicates that the help of Little girl to the AUC constituted “a dangerous activity” that increased the risk to community members beyond those dangers to which they were normally exposed.

For all of this, the multinational is ordered to pay US$38.3 million to the plaintiffs, who are survivors and relatives of victims of paramilitary violence in the 1990s and the beginning of this century, especially in the banana region of Urabá (Colombia).

Some of the plaintiffs are Víctor Palencia Gómez, father of Carlos Arturo Palencia Sibaja, who will receive US$ 2.4 million in compensation; or Janeth Rivera Vargas and Nini Johana Molina Rivera, wife and daughter, respectively, of Albeiro Antonio Molina Román, who will receive compensation of 2.1 million dollars, each.

Chiquita Brands International, which closed its Colombian operations in 2004, admitted in 2007 in a New York court that it had paid Colombian paramilitaries US$1.7 million, according to the company.under pressure”.

Chiquita’s lawyers had pointed out that the multinational had no choice but to pay nearly two million dollars to the AUC to protect its employees from violence.

The victims’ relatives maintained, on the contrary, that the fruit and vegetable company voluntarily associated with the AUC to protect its business, not the workers.

Thousands of victims’ families filed lawsuits against Chiquita.

After an investigation by the US Department of Justice, Chiquita pleaded guilty in 2007 to financing paramilitaries in Colombia, but had failed to compensate families whose loved ones were murdered by the groups it financed.

At that time, the company reached a judicial settlement that resulted in a fine of US$25 million.

Source: Gestion

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