Chiquita's Unappealing Nature

HONDURAS--In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, Chiquita Brands International(CBI) was widely criticized for abandoning the Honduran workers who labored on its storm-devastated plantations. CBI responded with promises to replant damaged fields and build new homes. CBI replanted several fields with African palm (resulting in job cuts) and built new homes far from the fields (making it more difficult for workers to seize the fields during a strike). CBI threatened to close its Honduran operations unless it was granted exemptions from export taxes, labor regulations and agrarian reform laws. The North American Committee on Latin America reports that conditions for CBI's laborers are so bleak that "2,800 workers had deserted the camps, many heading north to the US."

© Earth Island Journal, spring 2000 issue