Lawsuit alleges Chiquita responsible for the deaths of thousands of Colombian civilians - Part 1: The plaintiffs

July 11, 2011

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(AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Paramilitary fighters from the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia cross a bridge in Colombia's south Bolivar State.

Today, in another segment of our occasional Food Mondays series we revisit the long and sordid story of the banana.In 2007, Chiquita Brands International paid a criminal fine of $25 million to the U.S. Justice Department for paying the AUC, the right-wing paramilitary force in Colombia, designated a terrorist group by the U.S. Government. The fine was followed by a civil suit that alleges Chiquita’s payments led to thousands of banana workers’ and civilian deaths. A federal judge recently allowed most of the suit to proceed.

Later we’ll interview John Hall, Chiquita Foods International’s lead attorney who defends the company’s actions. But first we speak to Terry Collingsworth, one of the lawsuit’s lead attorneys.