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Commemorating 80 years after the Banana Massacre in Colombia

posted by dawn Geography: Latin America Colombia Topics: Bananas

December 6, 2008

Commemorating 80 years after the Banana Massacre in Colombia


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.

Governments and the mass media still distort the facts on the ground, and North Americans continue to consume bananas en masse, without thinking of where they came from.

Special activities planned in Colombia to commemorate the massacre are testament to the continued struggle of the people of Colombia against corporate and state aggression.

Image of the workers who participated in the strike at the the Banana plantation in Santa Marta (Ciénaga), Colombia. From left to right Pedro M. del Río, Bernardino Guerrero, Raúl Eduardo Mahecha, Nicanor Serrano and Erasmo Coronel.

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