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By then, the company held a major role in the national economy and eventually became a symbol of the exploitative export economy. This led to serious labor disputes by the Costa Rican peasants, involving more than 30 separate unions andworkers, in The Great Banana Strike ofone of the most significant actions of the era by trade unions in Costa Rica. Such holdings gave it great power over the governments of small countries. That was one of the factors that led to the coining of the phrase " banana republic ".
Zemurray moved the company's headquarters to New OrleansLouisianawhere he was based. United Fruit went on to prosper under Zemurray's management;   Zemurray resigned as president of the company in In addition to many other labor actions, the company faced two major strikes of workers in Central America, in Colombia in and the Great Banana Strike of in Costa Rica.
Black boughtshares of United Fruit inbecoming the company's largest shareholder. United Fruit had far less cash than Black had counted on and Black's mismanagement led to United Brands becoming crippled with debt. The company's losses were exacerbated by Hurricane Fifi inwhich destroyed many banana plantations in Honduras. Later that year, the U. Chiquita Brands International[ edit ] Main article: The headquarters was moved to Cincinnati in Reputation[ edit ] The United Fruit Company was frequently accused of bribing government officials in exchange for preferential treatment, exploiting its workers, paying little by way of taxes to the governments of the countries where it operated, and working ruthlessly to consolidate monopolies.
Latin American journalists sometimes referred to the company as el pulpo "the octopus"and leftist parties in Central and South America encouraged the company's workers to strike. Criticism of the United Fruit Company became a staple of the discourse of the communist parties in several Latin American countries, where its activities were often interpreted as illustrating Vladimir Lenin 's theory of capitalist imperialism.
The Fruit Company, Inc. Little Steven released a song in called Bitter Fruit with lyrics that referred to a hard life for a company "far away," and whose accompanying video depicted orange groves worked by peasants overseen by wealthy managers. The lyrics and scenery are generic, but United Fruit or its successor Chiquita was reputedly the target.
It also dominated regional transportation networks through its International Railways of Central America and its Great White Fleet of steamships.
Banana Massacre - Wikipedia
UFCO's policies of acquiring tax breaks and other benefits from host governments led to it building enclave economies in the regions, in which a company's investment is largely self-contained for its employees and overseas investors and the benefits of the export earnings are not shared with the host country. UFCO claimed that hurricanes, blight and other natural threats required them to hold extra land or reserve land.
In practice, what this meant was that UFCO was able to prevent the government from distributing banana lands to peasants who wanted a share of the banana trade. The fact that the UFCO relied so heavily on manipulating land use rights to maintain their market dominance had a number of long-term consequences for the region. For the company to maintain its unequal land holdings it often required government concessions.
United Fruit Company
And this in turn meant that the company had to be politically involved in the region even though it was an American company. In fact, the heavy-handed involvement of the company in often-corrupt governments created the term " banana republic ", which represents a servile dictatorship.
Infrastructure built by the company was constructed by clearing out forests, filling in low, swampy areas, and installing sewage, drainage, and water systems.
Ecosystems that existed on these lands were destroyed, devastating biodiversity. To create farm land, the United Fruit Company would either clear forests as mentioned or would drain marshlands to reduce avian habitats and to create "good" soil for banana plant growth. This is done by using produced soil fertility and hydrological resources in the most intense manner, then relocating when yields fell and pathogens followed banana plants.
Techniques like this destroy land and when the land is unusable for the company, then they move to other regions. In Central America, the Company built extensive railroads and ports and provided employment and transportation.
UFCO also created numerous schools for the people who lived and worked on Company land. On the other hand, it allowed vast tracts of land under its ownership to remain uncultivated and, in Guatemala and elsewhere, it discouraged the government from building highways, which would lessen the profitable transportation monopoly of the railroads under its control. UFCO had also destroyed at least one of those railroads upon leaving its area of operation.
Assigned by the Eisenhower administration, this military opposition was armed, trained and organized by the U. Its stock market value declined along with its profit margin. The Eisenhower administration proceeded with antitrust action against the company, which forced it to divest in Inthe company sold off the last of their Guatemalan holdings after over a decade of decline. Even as the Arbenz government was being overthrown, in a general strike against the company organized by workers in Honduras rapidly paralyzed the country and thanks to the United States' concern about the events in Guatemala, was settled more favorably for the workers to gain leverage for the Guatemala operation.
Cuba[ edit ] Company holdings in Cubawhich included sugar mills in the Oriente region of the island, were expropriated by the revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro. By April Castro was accusing the company of aiding Cuban exiles and supporters of former leader Fulgencio Batista in initiating a seaborne invasion of Cuba directed from the United States.
Banana massacre One of the most notorious strikes by United Fruit workers broke out on 12 November near Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Estimates of the number of casualties vary from 47 to Vargas issued the order so the United States would not invade Colombia.
Secretary of State, dated December 5,stated: Government now talks of general offensive against strikers as soon as all troopships now on the way arrive early next week. Secretary of State, dated December 29,stated: Secretary of State, dated January 16,stated: The Agrarian Law would grant international, multinational companies leniency in tax regulations along with other financial incentives.
Davila inthe Vaccaro brothers and Company, helped set the foundation on which the banana republic would struggle to balance and regulate the relationships between American capitalism and Honduran politics. Samuel Zemurray, a small-sized American entrepreneur, rose to be another contender looking to invest in the Honduran agricultural trade. InGeneral Bonilla took no time in granting the second railroad concession to the newly incorporated Cuyamel Fruit Company owned by Zemurray.
The time frame for some of these exclusive land, railroad concessions would last up to 99 years. The 1st railroad concession leased the National railroad of Honduras to the Vaccaro Bros.
Zemurray granted his concession to the Tela Railroad Company—another division within his own company. United Fruit Company currently Chiquita Brands International would partner with the President Bonilla in the exchange of access and control to Honduras' natural resources plus tax and financial incentives. In return, President Bonilla would receive cooperation, protection, along with a substantial amount of U.
Cuyamel Fruit Company and the Vaccaro Bros.
Bringing western modernization and industrialization to the welcoming Honduran nation. All the while Honduran bureaucrats would continue to take away the indigenous communal lands to trade for capital investment contracts as well as neglect the fair rights of Honduran laborers. After the peak of the banana republic era, resistance eventually began to grown between small-scale producers and production laborers because the exponential rate in growth of the wealth gap and extreme collusion between the Honduran working and poor class versus the profiting Honduran government officials and the U.
Due to the exclusivity of the land concessions and lack of official ownership documentation, Honduran producers and experienced laborers were left with two options to regain these lands—dominio util or dominio pleno. Dominio util—meaning the land was intended to be developed for the greater good of the public with a possibility of being the granted "full private ownership" versus dominio pleno was the immediate granting of full private ownership with the right to sell.
Additionally, accusations were reported of the Tela Railroad Company placing intense requirements, demanding exclusivity in distribution, and unjustly denying crops produced by small-scale farmers because they were deemed "inadequate". Compromise was attempted between small-scale fruit producers and the multinationals enterprises, but were never reached and resulted in local resistance.
To get an understanding of the dramatic increase in amount of bananas being exported, firstly "in the Atlantidathe Vaccaro Brothers Standard Fruit oversaw the construction of kilometers of railroad between and Housing While these communal services and amenities were offered to both American and Latin American laborers along with their families, they were not equally created, distributed, nor monitored.
Americans living in these host countries received much more modernized and above the sub-standardized living conditions that were offered to the Hondurans for housing. One way this could be observed would be how the Hondurans were given the communal, primitive, but functional means of sanitation for the disposal of human excrement in outhouses or the usage of a single outdoor faucet designated for a unit s.
Healthcare, for some laborers and their families would be free of charge, while others would be deducted from their wages. However laborers would be need of these services with the increased exposure to toxic, deadly exposure of chemicals via pesticides, insecticides, fungicide applications, and even the cleaning solutions removal of residue from fungicide applications. Education Education played another important role within each settlement because it helped create windows of opportunity for children and laborers to expound in subjects and training that majority of host countries could not afford or offer.
While the education for adult laborers would be more vocational, there would be private efforts for education, especially in literacy. Each nation varied in the requirements for the elementary schools such as the length of education offered would range from a minimum of 2 years and a max of 6 years.
Secretary of State, dated December 6,stated: May I respectfully suggest that my request for the presence within calling distance of an American warship be granted and that it stand off subject to my call It is admitted that the character of the strike has changed and that the disturbance is a manifestation with a subversive tendency.
Secretary of State, dated December 7,stated: Government now talks of general offensive against strikers as soon as all troopships now on the way arrive early next week. The Department does not repeat not desire to send a warship to Santa Marta.
Keep the Department informed of all developments by telegraph. Secretary of State, dated December 9,stated: No Americans killed or wounded. Guerrilla warfare now continuing in the zone but military forces are actively engaged in clearing the district of the Communists.
Secretary of State, dated December 11,stated: I was justified in calling for help and I shall welcome the opportunity to defend the position that I took on the morning of the sixth and until the afternoon of the eighth. Although the thinking people of the country realize that it was only the Government's prompt action that diverted a disaster, this insidious campaign of the Liberal press will undoubtedly work up a great deal of feeling against the Government and will tend to inculcate in the popular mind a belief that the Government was unduly hasty in protecting the interests of the United Fruit Company.
The Conservative journals are defending the Government's course but I doubt that their counter-fire will suffice to do away with the damage the Liberal journals are causing.
Secretary of State, dated December 29,stated: See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. Learn how and when to remove this template message Guerrilla movements in Colombia such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FARC argued that the growth of Communism in Colombia was triggered by atrocities like these, and called it state terrorism.
The Banana Massacre was one of the principal causes of the Bogotazoand the subsequent era of violence known as La Violencia.