News & Updates
Ten years ago, Chiquita Brands International became the first U.S.-based corporation convicted of violating a U.S. law against funding an international terrorist group—the paramilitary United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). But punishment for the crime was reserved only for the corporate entity, while the names of the individual company officials who engineered the payments have since remained hidden behind a wall of impunity.
As Colombian authorities now prepare to prosecute business executives for funding groups responsible for major atrocities during Colombia’s decades-old conflict, a new set of Chiquita Papers, made possible through the National Security Archive’s FOIA lawsuit, has for the first time made it possible to know the identities and understand the roles of the individual Chiquita executives who approved and oversaw years of payments to groups responsible for countless human rights violations in Colombia.
A U.S. jury in Washington declined to award damages Thursday in a trial testing claims by the first six of 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who allege that they were poisoned by an American security contractor in a years-long coca-eradication campaign by the U.S. and Colombian governments.
On Thursday, April 20, 2017 a federal jury returned a verdict in the first of the test trials against DynCorp International, the defense contractor that did the aerial fumigations in Plan Colombia. The International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates) first filed this case in 2001 on behalf of over 2,000 Ecuadoran farmers who live near the border with Colombia and allege that they had their farms destroyed when the toxic chemicals used by DynCorp to kill coca and poppy plants was also sprayed on their farms. The Ecuadoran farmers also alleged that they received personal injuries and suffered battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.