Chiquita Brands International Inc. headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, was a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh produce that was sold under the Chiquita premium brand and related trademarks. Banadex, a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands, was responsible for managing Chiquita’s extensive plantation holdings in Columbia and its most profitable international operation. Chiquita had been operating fruit plantations in Columbia for nearly 100 years and employed 4,400 in direct and 8,000 in indirect jobs of which most were local Columbian workers. Chiquita Brands, along with its subsidiary Banadex, were being faced with a very serious problem; blackmail. The leader of the United Self Defense Forces of Columbia, Carlos Castaño, had just proposed that it would be in the best interests of the company to pay them for security services. The United Self Defense Forces of Columbia, also known as the AUC, was one of the most violent paramilitary organizations existing in Columbia, with estimates of over 8,000 members, and known for its assassinations, guerrilla warfare, and drug trafficking. The security services being offered were for protection from the AUC itself, although there was no direct threat spoken. Chiquita was very limited in its choice of options, the local law enforcement as well as the U.S. government were in no position to offer legitimate protection, which forced Chiquita to decide whether to pay the AUC or risk the lives of Chiquita employees in Columbia. If Chiquita agreed to give into the demands of the AUC and pay them, they were essentially supporting and funding the AUC. There were no guarantees that the AUC would not change their mind and try to extort more money or even just ignore the agreement. Not to mention that this option was very unethical and could cause future implications for Chiquita, not only with the local government but with the United States as well. By agreeing to...
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