tv Doc Film - On Bananas and Republics Deutsche Welle June 30, 2018 8:15pm-9:00pm CEST
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this is the story of the fruit 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 morning to get the booth to invent i when i do you know by now i'm day. aha this is the story of a free to change 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. for
her. it all began in eighteen seventy one when the government in costa rica asked a certain minor cooper keith from new york to build a railway it was to link the caribbean coast to the high plucked homes 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 their own 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. our. 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.
anyone who managed to transport it quickly enough before it could write 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. trains for transporting them quickly and cheaply. in the foundation of his fortune. in a two 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 with them or to nationalize the company which owns and controls assets in more than one country by 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 to 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. 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 going on us as well as pioneering how to deliver the product to that 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 fun of this image of the united fruit company had a flair for promoting bananas. mothers whose 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. in huge quantities they were low in price and widely accessible. at melbourne and i. was writing that book bananas a delicate storms floods and heatwaves regularly destroyed crops bananas threatened to become scarce. that i was. at my. cat. 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 non-us. just the united fruit company itself kept on growing. it needed more and more land. in panama and costa rica local farmers were evicted.
despite slashing the prices anonymous it raised small producers who refused 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. before mixing on with there in is exactly what happened during the land reforms in britain from the sixteenth until the eighteenth century. the british farmers were expropriated in the same way there is no other word for it and of course 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 it was the beginning of modern day capitalism. that life. did
the united fruit company introduced capitalism to central america. the railway laid the foundation for mine a coupe of keys huge wealth. for the young nations 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 collapsed it became insolvent plans to build a railway were put on ice. in one thousand or three. approached the one person who could help my know could. he agreed to build a railway in return as usual he demanded lands for banana plantations have the right to whopper ate 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 indicates. that people in the dirt of the poor helps line the pockets of the rich privatizing 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 could mean to be one of their own.
to 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 it operated draining their resources even more and assuring their dependence. on case of the united fruit cadres wonderful tax free concessions things but honestly practically every western company all over latin america and asia. the same at the same conditions basically they had the bargaining power they had the technological advantage and 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 course 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 where offering low tax low taxes now it's the core of business. multinational can easily avoid fiscal legislation in the sovereign states where it operates by using a method which is well known today transfer prices where profits show up in the countries with the lowest tax levels of the u.k. so we prefer the latter this is a political issue do 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 going up and it. has been known ahead come a long way. a simple fruit had led to an economic power which became the form of a modern day multi national. news. in his. the american writer. described a fictional state controlled by a fruit company created the expression republic.
fruit plantations formed wealth of their own governments by the laws of the company . segregated society. on the one side the damages graduate from the best universities. the foreman from the south of the united states who brought with them then knowledge of slave culture. and american enclave in the tropics. an isolated social entity with its
own way of life. telegram dated twenty ninth of the 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 plantation have constituted the work force an entity which required organizing. the jamaicans while
prize for their strength and enjoyment they were importing sentient speak and their tens of thousands 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 in. the company preferred uprooted isolated and dos our workers unions were for big. ben tired towns had to be built by the company to ours these workers sometimes to our shores had to be drained. the company avoided taxes but prided itself on creating entire villages in the jungle.
each housed the workers and their families. built clinics and hospitals. open schools for the labor as children. wages were often paid in vouchers which laborers could use only in. zone shops to buy food clothing sun ature 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 workers at the sons of mobster 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 sons of martyr strikes 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 i was.
from then on throughout the caribbean the united fruit company was simply referred to as the octopus. eve in june one thousand nine hundred twenty nine mile 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 nineteen ten he had bought up the british health ala fifes and gained access to the european market the time of miner cooper piece that united fruit company control seventy five percent of the global ban on a trade. a few competitors existed but the united fruit company tolerated them
in order to avoid the u.s. laws on monopolies. the core young male fruit company was the company's main rival at its head was samuel to 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 that. in nineteen ten he had overturned the government of honduras which had tried to get it his way and he didn't hide the fact he became a legend. his rags to riches story began on ellis island in eight hundred ninety two. is
a money started out at the docks of mobile alabama a port on the gulf of mexico. he saw the united fruit ships unloading but now knows and watched the traders that where. he learned to spot the fruit no one else wanted the right bananas which weren't suitable for distant markets. he made a bulk purchase for next to nothing. he had a wagon and over the following three days' journey through the southern states he sold his entire stock at the railway stations there for his first trip he earned forty dollars. sam the banana man had arrived. samuel the mary challenge the united fruit company until finally his competition became too
troublesome for them. in november one thousand twenty nine he accepted a merger united fruit bought out his company called young man samuel received thirty million dollars worth of united fruit company shares. this made him one of the richest men in the united states and also unite. fruits biggest shareholder. in nine hundred thirty three he dismissed the company's board of directors and took single handed control as one magazine headline put it a journal who swallowed the whale. fifty six years of age samuel's the memory was the uncontested king of bananas.
and 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 economic growth and new markets for united fruits bananas summary 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. in his 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 welly on that in a consumer society advertising was the key to creating consumer wishes which could be nurtured that stimulated avin for nice and. for samuel's the marring you may depend on other for you should the american dream. you know you like but i am a. crime to kill them and i am. and i have
a right to have their way when they're playing around and i have a warden here that has played the best and i have a better. educated but not i became a household name. when i get my hair greenish weier looking mean when you are ripe for cooking and. i am. glad i rarely hear a third way i am to keep the men i am i have a vacuum relation trigger power manage weight if you like to leave refined and. eating habits really are to be revived. in chiquita banana as ideal world everybody nonna looks the same and tasted the same the company produced only one variety call me chef. tasty fruity and hearty therefore exportable to month kept on growing.
lists. but it is not enough to have the right conditions for the one hundred or if . it is also necessary to part because some prefer to this is that or an open station. on the plantations we can buy intensive monoculture to venomous parasite. it was spreading panama disease and yellow figure toca. chiquita banana swaying hips couldn't hide the reality the empire was rotting probably inside. samuel's the murray had tons of pesticide sprayed over the banana plants up to thirty times a year. those who volunteered for the job received extra pay they were known as their vinod narrows
the poisonous. very soon this kid took on a pollutant 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 was cut down to create new plantations. it was as if united fruit had taken over the whole of central america. we are pretty sure not because we do see. it is 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.
this time i think that this example shows that the company should have realized that doing this was not in its interests other than the parts of corporate marketing that you get 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 could make. you know. schnabel seclusion the end instead of a self-perpetuating logic required someone who is in charge to second and say stop us remasters we need to do this differently or that it's too infrequent come on you got to. be obeying the free stuff that i mean look at him for what info i worked at all 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 cordial to me the ones i don't know i've got your form on the money if you're a dictator was a good friend of the united fruit company. who biko 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 while highly favorable for the company to. a large nationalist like united fruit store to stability for its for its investments
democracy is 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 nationalist and they prefer to work as a operate in china for example. or 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 thousand nine hundred fifty one democratic elections brought korbel out of bins to part. out of ben set about putting into practice the first promise of the revolution a man's reform program which would redistribute the lands 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 ameri 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. days once again to employ his talents of creating his own form of reality. he set about making the protection of united free to 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. want to find out the back with bullets god like you by. the total i've been this was a social democrat nationalist and reformer. but days 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 quote with. social networks and much else the story intensifying. with all its severe consequences for for democracy but we could already see where we was going to lead with episodes like can i as a united truett. 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. the opening.
prize in how i 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 faithful lobbyist for the company's interests. its family were longstanding shareholders. they were all men with an open ear for edward bernays messages. in august one nine hundred fifty three allen dulles as cia introduced new methods
in iran it overturned the government of mohammad mosaddegh who had nationalized his country's petrol industry he was accused of communist collusion. in the success of the operation in iran convinced the eisenhower administration the cia was given a green light to intervene in guatemala. they operate. it was named success. edward bernays efforts were bearing fruit. but. the cia supported an opponent of the outer bands regime. you know out of my ass. and he became a leader of
a national liberation army trained by the cia. the plantations of the united fruit company became regard basins. in june one nine hundred fifty four the capital quite a modest city was bombed. over power of how kobol our parents resigned on the twenty seventh of june in a radio broadcast. they used 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.
after becoming president with support from the united states custody or out of mass canfield the measures taken by the outer bands government. land reform was abandoned land was returned to united fruit. but neither stability nor security following. after the coup what a 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 maya 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 eastern regime. evan estell che guevara fidel castro's ally was in quite a mile and. he had been radicalized by the overthrow of a cold war arbenz he no longer believed in reform but in revolution. in one nine hundred sixty feet del castro nationalized all north american businesses. the it was. sure a week i. this
time both edward but there is an samuel's of money what power in the us. the murray 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 make 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 a free bus simple free. today by not having to buy their dead weight when they are black with brown and. then i. am in. value and i was.
called the big i was but by now and i'd like to climb it up the batty very proper probably. am. a. crimes against humanity. civilians become witnesses for. their recorded images travel around the globe via social media. digital investigators. through the flood of images by sources to try to reconstruct what happened and to substantiate claims of crimes. insisting that spong g.w. photographing. them
live to serve a. danger lurks in the water we were there for your own surfing waste and encouraging worth of. basically the status of the us to back up a little initial goal of being a big girl. he's going to say it's saturday or somewhere every day and more a more broad vision which time in there seems to me everything the way most of the windows have to give something back so i feel obliged to assume. one waves surfers fighting against unseen pollution and the sea torch july fourteenth on v.w. .
this is d.w. news live from berlin the deal is revealed chancellor angela merkel securest new agreements across europe to curb migrant flows into germany but is the stricter e.u. asylum policy enough to appease rebels in her government and save her job also coming up. at the soccer world cup in iraq.