tv Doc Film - On Bananas and Republics Deutsche Welle June 21, 2018 3:15am-4:01am CEST
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this is the story of a friend a simple fridge available all year round all around the world. this is the story of a fruit on which an empire was built one of the first multinationals the united fruit company. in the mornin to get the blue. when i eat a banana. was this is the story of a fruit that changed the destiny of central america and gave its name to republics it became notorious it became the symbol of all that's wrong with american capitalism. this is a tale of economics and politics a story about globalization. this is the story of a fruit a simple print. the but none of.
her. it all began in eighteen seventy one when the government in costa rica asked to start a minor cooper keith from new york to build a railway it was to link the caribbean coast to the hike not change through the jungle. but nothing went as planned. the jungle was merciless. that one accident scorpions malaria four thousand men died and just forty kilometers of railway track were completed. and after a stock market crash known to dried up. costa rica
could no longer pay its debts the railway remained on finished myna faced financial ruin. he didn't know then that fortune was right there at his feet in human soil of the jungle in this simple fruit that fed his workers the banana. the. first the simple food of workers the banana appeared at the turn of the century at markets in the united states it was a prize delicacy expensive because it was rare and paris.
anyone who managed to transport it quickly enough before it could write can and rot could turn it into gold. miner recognize that very soon he was exporting bananas and he was saved from bankruptcy. he struck an agreement with the government in costa rica he would finish work on the railway in return he asked for the right to use the line and receive ownership of large plots of land. land to grow bananas. train for transporting them quickly and cheaply. the foundation of his fortune. in eight hundred ninety nine my not entered a partnership with two men from boston he had the plantations and railways his associates provided a fleet of ships and a distribution network across the u.s.
on march the thirty year eight hundred ninety nine they founded the united fruit company. by working to finish him or to nationalize the company which owns and controls assets in more than one country i would say it's among the first of the multinationals in this kind of like primary commodity type of of of business and it's really taking the process of call integration to quite quite an extreme x. extent including you know constructing what's going to become one of the biggest shipping fleets in actually in in the world and integrating right down through to distribution in the united states so. it's really quite quite
extreme at this time but they're pioneering in a more fundamental way because this company is actually creating a market for been on us as well as pioneering how to deliver the product to the consumer so in eight hundred ninety nobody in the united states really knew what a banana was basically. by nine hundred fourteen you can buy been on as in virtually all big american towns. tasty nourishing fall of the. united fruit company had a flair for promoting bananas. mothers with families were the target the company published recipes and paid pediatricians to praise the bananas nutritional values. very soon americans could no longer do
without them. imported in huge quantities they were low in price and widely accessible. and i. asked my advice and that is a delicate storms floods and heatwaves regularly destroyed crops bananas threatened to become scarce. and that was. that my friend. that i mine and his associates knew they needed to grow ever more bananas over a much larger area right across central america. former
spanish colonies these countries had won their independence of the beginning of the nineteenth century but the united states regarded them as a natural extension of its own market. for the united fruit company this was one single territory completely given over to growing by nona's. just as the united fruit company itself kept on growing. it needed more and more land. in panama and costa rica local farmers were evicted.
by slashing the prices the nanos it raised small producers of miscues to give up their banana plantation into financial ruin step by step it took over hundreds of thousands of hectares of central america's biggest land. sigmas he said basically form agree on what they're in because it's exactly what happened during the land reforms in britain from the sixteenth until the eighteenth century so. the british farmers were expropriated in the same way there is no other word for it. because immediately you the lands which they cultivated started to have fences put up around it. and by the eighteenth century they were forced to give up their workforce to the new factories. this was the origin of industry and economy as we know them today and it was the beginning of modern day capitalism. that.
did the united fruit company introduced capitalism to central america. it certainly had a specific vision of development and progress from the start. the railway laid the foundation for mine a cooper kids huge wealth. for the young dangers of central america it was synonymous with modernity. guatemala wanted it found railway but the country was in debt and when the price of coffee in its primary resource. elapsed it became insolvent plans to build a railway were put on ice. in one thousand and three. approached the one person who could help miner cooper keep. he agreed to build
a railway in return as usual he demanded land for banana plantations have the right swap rate the railway for his own needs he also acquired control over the country's main ports and the telegraph network. in other words guatemala gave away to the united fruit company its infrastructure its economy and its future in exchange for a railway. the company's empire grew to the detriment of the young nations in search of progress but with no resources and indebt. thanks for the money lead it's people the dirt of the poor helps line the pockets of the rich that privatising the entire public sector through debt mechanism is the act of expropriation of common
property that typically land for the profit of a limited few green to be one of. the banana growing nations in the caribbean also bound themselves one after the other to the company. each time the company managed to pay little or no chances in the countries in which is operated draining their resources even more and assuring their dependence. case of the united fruit if. hadley's were wonderful tax free concessions and things but honestly practically every western company all over latin america and asia had the same had the same conditions basically they had the bargaining power they had the
technological advantage it had the money these places wanted them and the deal was very little taxes. in our age tax avoidance or tax planning as it as it's called in business schools has become a central feature of business globally and that's a quite different situation from when you know developing fragile states in the one nine hundred centuries were offering low tax low taxes now it's the core of business. a multinational can easily avoid fiscal legislation in the sovereign states where it operates by using a method which is well known today transfer of prices where profits show up in the countries with the lowest tax levels of. proof that this is a political issue we want this money to be given back to the public authorities to
be used for the common good or do we continue to allow our state's fiscal revenue to be siphoned off by multinationals so it's a global issue dissociative process on the left and it. has been known ahead come a long way. a simple fruit had led to an economic power which became the forerunner of a modern day multinational. in his. cabbages and kings the american writer henry described a fictional state controlled by a fruit company created the expression republic. united
and american enclave in the tropics. an isolated social entity with its own way of life. telegram dated twenty ninth of may nine hundred nineteen to the united fruit company head office last lot of labor as a bad. mostly criminal. useless laborers from costa rica panama and nicaragua. continue sending jamaican laborers.
the laborers on the plantations constituted the work force an entity which required organizing. the jamaicans were prized for their strength and enjoyment they were importing sentient speak in their tens of flowers from the island of jamaica and herded around from plantation to plantation. to no coals were relegated to domestic chores. the hispanics viewed with suspicion. the company preferred uprooted isolated and josiah workers unions were forbidden. entire towns had to be built by the company to ours these workers sometimes large ones had to be drained. the company avoided taxes but
prided itself on creating entire villages in the jungle. entires the workers and their families. build clinics and hospitals. open schools where the labor is children. wages were often paid in vouchers which laborers could use only in the. shops to buy food clothing funicello and tools. but although the company controlled every moment in its employees lives to months
started to be made for a six day week and an eight hour working day unemployment benefits and salaries paid in cash. on rest was spreading in banana land. in october one thousand nine hundred twenty eight was that the sun thomaso plantation in colombia went on strike. after negotiations failed workers occupied company buildings on the plantation. the colombian government sent in the army over a thousand people died. the suppression of the santa marta strike became known as the banana massacre an important historical event for colombia and central america the symbol of state submission with use of its public forces in the interests of a foreign company. i
was . from then on throughout the caribbean the united fruit company was simply referred to as the octopus. in june one thousand nine hundred twenty nine miners cooper keith died in costa rica. he left behind a huge jump. with one hundred thousand employees and over a million hectares of plantations. in one thousand and ten he had bought up the british shell cena fifes and gained access to the european market at the time of
mine a cooper keith death united fruit company controlled seventy five percent of the global banana trade. but feel competitors existed but the united fruit company tolerated them in order to avoid the us north on monopolies. the core young male fruit company was the company's main rival at its head was samuel's the marry. a tall and gruff man with a strong russian accent he was seen as a visionary capable of making bananas grow on the most hostile land. in one thousand nine hundred ten he had overturned the government of honduras which had tried to get his way and he didn't hide the fact he became a legend. his rags to riches story began on ellis island in eighty ninety two.
the money started out of the docks of mobile alabama ports on the gulf of mexico. he saw the united fruit ships on loading bananas and watch the traders that's where . he learned to spot the fruit no one else wanted the right bananas which once suitable for distant markets. he made a bulk purchase for next to nothing. he hired a wagon and over the following three days' journey through this. southern states he sold his entire stock at the railway stations there just for his first trip he and forty dollars.
sam of the banana man had arrived. samuel's the murray challenge the united fruit company until finally his competition became too troublesome for them. in november one thousand twenty nine he accepted a merger of united fruit bought out his company korea merrill samuel received thirty million dollars worth of united fruit company shares. if this made him one of the richest men in the united states and also united fruit biggest shareholder. in one nine hundred thirty three he dismissed the company's board of directors and took singlehanded control as one magazine headline put it but jonah who swallowed the whale. tricity six years of age samuel summary was the uncontested king of bananas.
out of an empire cannot stand still if it doesn't grow it fails. the second world war froze international trade. but the post-war era brought the promise of reconstruction and economic growth and new markets for united fruits bananas sumeria found just the man to conquer these markets edward bernays a pioneer of his own kind and a master. of public relations and advertising. about who could shape reality according to his client's wishes. in the one nine hundred twenty s. edward bernays had persuaded american women to start smoking convincing them that
the cigarette was a torch of liberty the instrument of their emancipation. back then he was for the powerful american tobacco company. it is a book entitled propaganda edward bernays defended in his own words the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses by an enlightened minority. could it have been his uncle sigmund freud who helped him understand so well yawn that in a consumer society advertising was the key to creating consumer wishes which could be natural did stimulated add in for nice and. so samuel's the memory he made of anon of the fruit of the american dream. you know you're right but i am a. crime
to keep it open and that i've come to say and i know have a right and there are certain way when they're playing when brown and i have a board a new manager place the best another there's an. educated banana became a household name. known i get my dear greenish way or looking mean when you are out for cooking and to keep the man i am. glad i rarely generators away and keep the men and i am a. better religion treat a fair old man its ways to be refined and. eating habits really are to blame. in tricky to bananas ideal world every banana looks the same and tasted the same the company produced only one variety that call me chef and. tasty fruity
and hearty but therefore exportable demand kept on growing. but it is not a mob to have the right conditions for the bahamas to her. it is also necessary to provide council free to the sisterhood or an open ocean. on the plantations weakened by intensive monoculture two veteran of the parasites were spreading panama disease and yellow sea. chiquita banana swain hips couldn't hide the reality the empire was rotting probably inside . samuel's a berry had tons of pesticide sprayed over the banana plants up to thirty times a year. they some
volunteered for the job received extra pay they were known as their vinen arrows the poisonous. very soon their skin took on a blue tint they fell ill doesn't start. the lifetime of a plantation fell from ten to three years those infected by parasites were abandoned. more juggle with cut down to create new plantations. it was as if united fruit had taken over the whole of central america. but you're not as criticism. it's remarkable because it is a parable of the perverse effects of capitalism and the logic of accumulation after
all the logic intrinsic to capitalism is the accumulation of capital of which there is no foreseeable end with the idea that the resources being used are endless. based on how many think that if they see example shows that the company should have realized that doing this was not in its interests the other party corporate mocking the people dying in a bid to maintain a machine which harms the environment and in regard to sustainability in the economic sense is pointless if they couldn't make this happen. she had no security in the end just have a self-perpetuating logic required someone who is in charge to step in and say stop this right now. we need to do this differently or not it's too infrequent come on you got to. be having to
face your put i mean look at him for what in very workable in one thousand nine hundred forty four a revolution in guatemala put an end to the fourteen year rule of the dictator hard hit would be calling him the ones i don't know last year for a month but if you're the dictator was a good friend of the united fruit company. would be coach saw himself as the reincarnation of napoleon and fearing a loss of power had banned the use of the words strike petition and union. he believed in forced labor for the poorest and the lowest wages possible.
the contract c. signed with united fruit a highly favorable for the company. or a large nationals like united fruit store to stability for its for its investments democracies can be very unstable i mean there's a reason why multinational investment is very low in india and the reason is it's democracy where there are multiple parties is always sort of checking do you always negotiating everything and that's that's a veritable. nightmare for about a national sanai preferred or peseta operate in china for example. where provided the communist party approves of your activities you have a high degree of stability and things will basically you won't run into any sort of trouble so i think that i think that's what multinationals are after some sort of security yet and stability and that imported taters or the communist party can give
you can give you that. with its promise of workers' rights and a minimum wage the guatemalan revolution no longer made the country viable for united fruit. in one nine hundred fifty one democratic elections brought the corporal out of bins to part. out of ben set about putting into practice the first promise of the revolution amanda reform program which would redistribute the land of the large scale owners to small farms. but at the top of the list of large earners was more than two thirds of the country's agricultural land was the united
fruit company. president of ben's issued a decree to confiscate hundreds of thousands of hectares of land kept in reserve by the company. the indemnities were based on the company's low tax declarations which never revealed its real profits. never before had united fruit been challenged in this way. as a young man samuels a murray had over two. under trouble from government this time with no mercenaries at hand he once again turned to his p.r. genius edward bernays and told him to deal with outer bands. knaves was again to employ his talents of creating his own form of reality.
he set about making the protection of united fruits private interests in guatemala an issue for the u.s. government. edward bernays was to create a fiction for nineteen fifties america submerged in the cold war. as my feet out of equities got darker by. the total i'd been this was a social democrat nationalist and reform. but there is depicted him as a communist true to moscow a face of the red peril which threatened america and the free world. but names hope to win over public opinion. he opened a central american information bureau organized press visit and suggested articles to befriended publishers.
so bernays really i understood it you know it's not what is happening it's the story you tell about what is happening that that is that that is the reality and that's something he was greatly admired in study did not see germany who carried part truth to another. to another level and now we've we see that in our present world with. social networks and much else the story intensifying. with a word severe consequences for for democracy but we could already see where we was going to lead with episodes like honestly my truth. the time was right for edward bernays power play in january nine hundred fifty
three dwight eisenhower became the new president of the united states. pozen heart advocated a frontal offensive against communism. he placed two provinces in keepers john foster dulles became secretary of state allen dulles head of the cia both had been legal advisors to the united fruit company. the new ambassador to the united nations was senator henry cabot lodge a faith a lobbyist for the company's interests. it's family were long standing shareholders . they were all men with an open ear for edward bernays messages.
in august one nine hundred fifty three allen dulles the cia introduced new methods in iran which overturned the government of mohammad mosaddegh who had nationalized his country's petrol industry he was accused of communists. in the success of the operation in iran convinced the eisenhower administration the cia was given a green light to intervene in guatemala. the operate. it was named success. edward bernays efforts were bearing frege.
the cia supported an opponent of the arbenz regime. you know out of my ass. kicking leader of a national liberation army trained by the cia. the plantations of the united fruit company became really a god basins. in june one nine hundred fifty four the capital quite a modest city was bombed. over power of how kobol outer bands resigned on the twenty seventh of june in a radio broadcast. for the use communism as an excuse. but the truth is different. in reality it's about financial interests. those of the united fruit company and other north american monopolies. they've invested in latin
america they fear the example of guatemala could spread to other nations. to becoming president with support from the united states custody you know out of mass cancelled the measures taken by the outer bands government. land reform was abandoned land was returned to united fruit. but neither stability nor security for there. after the coup what for model was thrown into a civil war that continued until one thousand nine hundred ninety six. it left more than one hundred thousand dead a million displaced and tens of thousands missing. the myall indians were among the victims there was talk of genocide.
fearing financial loss the united fruit company blocked all reforms in guatemala taking into account the risk of fueling younger among the people. in january nine hundred fifty nine cuban revolutionaries took advantage and overthrew the but east the regime. evan estell che guevara fidel castro's ally was in guatemala. he had been radicalized by the overthrow of her cobol arbenz he no longer believed in reform but in rivoli which. the e. in one nine hundred sixty feet telecaster and nationalized all north american businesses. the i. was. cool
we think i. this time both edward but days and samuel is a maori were powerless. summary died in one thousand nine hundred sixty one his empire didn't outlive him for long the united fruit company disappeared in successive takeovers and mergers it was replaced by chiquita brands. infected by disease the call me share of bananas that had made united fruit rich disappeared at the end of the sixties. another banana emerged the cavendish. it had been developed by a small competitor soon to become an agricultural giant the new leader of the banana market don't.
feel. like. according to latest reports the cavendish banana may in its turn be on its way out. joan employees tried in vain to sue the company for poisoning by pesticides. chiquita brands the heir to united fruit is facing court action accused of financing paramilitary groups in colombia. that was the story of the free simple free. today by not having to buy their dead weight when they are around and have. done better than i. am in. value and my.
father called the pain asked by my name and i'd like to climb it up to betty betty crocker probably. never been a am. optimize ation find artificial intelligence. business is at a place in the decisions to. make better. choices for a better future. for all the machines finally taking out. in thirty minutes on d w.
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