Thursday, March 15, 2007

Top Banana

I first heard of Chiquita Bananas through its ubiquitous TV commercial in the '50s starring a Latina singing fruit. Then I heard of a corporation called "United Fruit" for the first time in Phil Ochs' antiwar anthem "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" as the progenitor of U.S. colonialism in Latin America. Its chairman had another full time job. He was director of the CIA, which overthrew the government of Guatemala on behalf of the U.S. fruit industry. Some years ago, United Fruit became Chiquita, and yesterday Chiquita paid a $25 million fine for doing business with, in the form of bribes, to a terrorist organization in Columbia.

Chiquita's top banana is Carl Lindner, one of the richest men in American and, no need to say, a major bundler of political donations to George W. Bush as are at least 19 others whose companies were fined lesser amounts for trafficking with terrorists. Lindner's home town newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, ripped the peel of Chiquita's operations about 10 years ago, but because the reporter engaged in unscrupulous methods to get the goods, Lindner tried to put the newspaper out of business. He settled for $10 million, making the newspaper, in effect, the silent partner in his bribery of terrorists.

But, see, Lindner thought it was okay because these are right-wing terrorists.

I'd bet a year's worth of cereal toppings that had the Latin lackey Gonzales, a disgrace to everyone south of the border, not been constrained in his perversion of justice by a Democratic Congress, Chiquita might have been able to "split" the difference at a lot less than 25-mill.

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