Colombia: Banacol

A company implicated in paramilitarism and landgrabbing in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó
27 May 2012
Report

Banacols business benefits from paramilitary structures, the promotion of land invasions for banana production, and contracts with individuals who do not have the approval of the communities. These activities are pursued to advance agreements concerning the use of the land, against Colombian laws.

This study focuses on the International Banacol Marketing Corporation’s actions in the Afro-Colombian and Mestizo communities’ collective territories of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó in the Lower Atrato region of Chocó, Colombia.

This company produces and trades bananas, pineapples, cassava, and other products. It’s business benefits from paramilitary structures, the promotion of land invasions for banana production, and contracts with individuals who do not have the approval of the communities. These activities are pursued to advance agreements concerning the use of the land, against Colombian laws.

The transnational company Banacol acquired Banadex, a subsidiary of the United States’ Chiquita Brands, and rushed into contracts with them to ensure the sale of fruit to Chiquita Brands after Chiquita were sanctioned by the State Department for financing of illegal groups in Colombia. Banacol markets its products in Europe through different firms. The business formation of these firms casts doubt on their legality.

Recommendations

To civil society organizations:

  • Conduct a public awareness campaign to inform and promote public censure actions and consumer boycotts of products sold by Colombian Banacol in Amsterdam, Holland, and Miami, USA.
  • Demand Banacol cease business operations in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó because of their refusal to acknowledge the rights of Afro-decendent and Indigenous communities, and their shared responsibility in ignoring human rights violations and the principles of International Law.
  • Support with written statements (amicus curie, petitions for information, and petitions for public inquiry, Right to Petition) through national and international legal actions through which communities and human rights organizations speak out against the companies Banacol, Banadex and Chiquita Brands in Colombia, their involvement in human rights violations in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó and other communities.
  • Intervene in these companies’ shareholders meetings asking that they explain their business practices.
  • Monitor the legality of the companies involved in this study, through which Banacol Marketing Corporation conducts its business in Europe.
  • Provide protections for the victims and their legal representative because of the risk they face by taking legal action against this powerful company, through letters to the government and opinion editorials in the international media.
  • Promote, through a quantitative research study, documentation and quantification of the tangible and intangible harms and damages that the illegal business operations have produced in communities and ecosystems.

To the European Parliamentarians and Congress Members of Colombia:

  • Refrain from ratifying the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Government of Colombia because of its negative effects in the land dispute in banana growing regions or regions intended for the expansion of banana plantations.

To the Government of Colombia:

  • Carry out the Constitutional Court Orders for material restitution of lands in Jiguamiandó and Curvaradó, particularly related to the remediation of the communities’ territories occupied by businesses. In addition, advance the legal process so that the companies involved in this study assume the presumption of illegality for their involvement in these territories.
  • Work to ensure respect and support for the decisions made by communities in relation to the use of land, as requires the constitution and national law, along with financial, technical and administrative support for the implementation and development of rural economic projects that the communities decide to implement.
  • Require compliance with the resolutions of the provisional measures of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that protect the right to life and the integrity of the community council members living in Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones.

To the Attorney General’s Office:

  • Recognizing that these communities have suffered crimes against humanity, systematic crimes and irreparable environmental damage, forward a streamlined procedural investigation and an investigative approach that is appropriately contextualized within systematized crimes and criminal structures of the transnational corporations Banacol, Chiquita Brands and Banadex, under compliance with the orders issued by the Constitutional Court in the proceedings referred to in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó.
  • Consider in this investigation advances made in case number 3856 in the investigations being conducted against the transnational companies Chiquita Brands, Banacol and Banadex, which looks at the relationship between business entrepreneurs and paramilitary crimes of forced displacement, as well as the formation of paramilitary groups and environmental damage in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó.
  • Ensure the protection of victims serving as plaintiffs in proceedings against Chiquita Brands, Banacol, Uniban and Banadex.

To the Comptroller General’s Office:

  • a. Investigate the legality or illegality of the health incentives granted by the Colombian government to the banana companies studied in this report.
  • Submit a status report on investigations of the use of public resources to support business entrepreneurs who planted oil palm in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó.

To the Companies:

  • a. Take responsibility for the environmental damage and human rights violations perpetuated in the preparation, implementation and development of agribusinesses of banana, oil palm, and cattle ranching in Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó in the Urabá subregion of Antioquia.
  • To not interfere with the process being carried out by communities in Jiguamiandó and Curvaradó working to procure material restitution of the territories as ordered by the Constitutional Court in the rulings that pertain to these communities.
Download: 
Colombia: Banacol(pdf, 721 KB)