US Families Sue Chiquita Over FARC Murders

Claim protection cash to Colombia rebels tied to missionary slayings
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 12, 2008 11:00 AM CDT
A man carries a box of bananas given to him for free by banana producers protesting the alleged refusal by multinational Chiquita Brand banana company to pay producers more than then current US$5 per...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Fruit giant Chiquita stands accused in a federal lawsuit of contributing to the deaths of five US missionaries at the hands of Colombian rebel group FARC during the 1990s, the Wall Street Journal reports today. Families of the missionaries say protection money the Cincinnati-based company admitted to secretly paying the guerrillas helped finance the group’s activities.

Chiquita paid a $25 million fine to the US after admitting it paid FARC—and later a right-wing rival that gained control in the region—to leave its operations alone; the payments were illegal because the factions are on a US list of terrorist groups. The lawsuit—filed in Florida and seeking unspecified damages—contends Chiquita provided weapons and some logistical support to FARC.