Daniel Kavlik noticed that a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Colombia avoided naming the corporations on whose behalf millions of people have been driven from their homes over the past three decades:
Kavlik asks “Should we be writing to the paramilitary groups, such as the Urabenos which are named in the report, and politely ask them to stop raping and killing people?”
He contrasts HRW’s report with a much more concise one put out by the Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission (IJCP). The IJCP report is entitled “Colombia: Banacol, a company implicated in land grabbing in Cubarado and Jiguamiando.”
The IJCP report explains that Banacol is a distributor for Chiquita Brands – a company that pled guilty in US courts to paying paramilitary death squads $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004. Chiquita was fined $25 million, less than the combined salary of its top five CEO’s in 2012 alone (each of the top five made roughly $6 million).
Of course, Canadian companies have also profited from graves crimes in Latin America. Hudbay Minerals is finally being brought to trial in Canada over human rights abuses that took place in Guatemala in 2007, but there is ample evidence to justify similar lawsuits against Canadian companies over their operations in Colombia. Justin Podur wrote in 2009
If most Canadians read Yves Engler’s’ “Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy” our courts would be extremely busy prosecuting Canadian government officials and the business executives they have served all over the world.