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December 6, 2008 Weblog:

Commemorating 80 years after the Banana Massacre in Colombia

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Today is the 80th anniversary of the Banana Massacre in Ciénaga, Colombia. The workers began a strike against the company on November 12, 1928.

According to Eduardo Mahecha, who survived the massacre: "The deadly pistol and machine gun fire lasted 15 minutes, resulting in the death of 207 workers and 32 injured."

The banana operations at the time were controlled by the infamous United Fruit Company. Those responsible for the massacre were never brought to justice. The workers reorganized themselves and struck again in 1934, this time winning the concessions they sought.

Fans of Garcia Márquez may remember his portrayal of the massacre in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.

What has changed in the last 80 years?

Armies and paramilitaries the world over are still in the service of transnational corporations (disturbingly, one of the most high profile cases-in-point is that of United Fruit's progeny Chiquita Brands' payments of paramilitaries in Colombia).

Workers movements are still portrayed as being linked with "dark forces," as was the recent strike by sugar cane workers in Colombia.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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