tv Doc Film - On Bananas and Republics Deutsche Welle July 3, 2018 11:15am-12:00pm CEST
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this is the story of a fruit a simple fruit 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 sunday. was this is the story of a free lunch 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 front that's simple front. the but.
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 the beach was to link the caribbean coast to the high plateau 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. actually 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. because. i. cursed the simple food of workers the banana appeared at the turn of the century as markets in the united states it was a prize delicacy expensive because it was rare times perishable.
anyone who managed to transport it quickly enough before it could ripe 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. the foundation of his fortune. in a two hundred ninety nine mine i 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 us on march the thirty year. eight hundred ninety nine they founded the united fruit company. by working to finish them off internationally as a 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 tickle integration to quite a quite an extreme 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 going on us as well as pioneering how to deliver the product to that consumer so in eighty 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. tasting nourishing full of this image 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.
imported in huge quantities they were low in price and widely accessible. and i are. going to add. that is a delicate storms floods and heatwaves regularly destroyed crops bananas threatened to become scarce. bad was. that 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 nona's. just as the united fruit company itself kept on growing. was it needed more and more than. this in panama and costa rica local farmers were evicted.
by slashing the price of the nominee it grows small fridge associate with used to give up another plantation into financial ruin step by step it took over hundreds of thousands of hectares of central america's best left. to do exactly as he said basically for making all what they're in is 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 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.
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 trooper keefe 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 its primary resource. collapsed 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 to operate the railway for his their needs he also acquired control over the country's main port and the telegraph network. in other words guatemala gave away in the united fruit company its infrastructure its economy and its future in exchange for a railway. the company's empire group to the detriment of the young nations in search of progress but with no resources and indicates. that it's people 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. 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 the shoring their dependence. case of the united fruit it. headways were wonderful tax free concessions to things but honestly practically every western company all over latin america and asia had 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 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 we're offering low tax low taxes now it's the core of business if. a multinational can easily avoid was gorgeous lation 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 uki so we prefer the lab 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 if there's a local issue dissociative also going up and it. has been known ahead come a long way. a simple fruit. which became the forerunner of a modern day multinational. in his new novel. the american writer henry described a fictional state controlled by a fruit company and creative expression. united
and american enclaves in the tropics. an isolated social entity with its own way of life. a 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 speech and their tens of thousands from the island of jamaica and herded around from plantation to plantation. canal calls were relegated to domestic chores. the hispanics viewed with suspicion in. the company preferred up rooted isolated and dos our workers unions were forbidden. entire towns had to be built by the company to ours theirs 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 for their labor as children. wages were often paid in vouchers which laborers could use only in the. please own shops to buy food clothing fun 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 and banana land. in october one thousand nine hundred twenty eight workers at the sometime after 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. 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 miner cooper keith died in costa rica . he left behind a huge empty. with one hundred thousand employees and over a million hectares of plantations. in nineteen ten he had bought up the british health center fifes and gained access to the european market the time of miner
cooper death 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 us laws on monopolies. is a core young bell 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 that. in one thousand nine hundred ten he had overturned the government of honduras which had tried to get his way and she didn't hide the fact he became a legend. his rags to riches story began on ellis island in eight hundred 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 wasn't 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 hundred forty dollars.
santa 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 nine hundred 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 budget on and who swallowed the whale. tree fifty six years of age samuel's the memory was the uncontested king of bananas
. it was an empire cannot stand still if it doesn't grow it fails. in. the second world war froze international trade. got the post-war era brought the promise of reconstruction economic growth and new markets for united for it's been on us 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 bearnaise 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 nurtured stimulated avin for nice and. so samuel summary he made of an arm of the fruit of the american dream. you know you like but mammals.
climb to keep it open and that and i've come to stay in and have it right and that certain way when they're playing when brown and i have a border new man is placed the best another there's an. educated banana became a household name. you know when i get my dear greenish way or looking mean when you are ripe for cooking and. i am. glad i rarely hear a third way and keep a man and i am i have come to say that your religion treat a fair old man its ways if you like to leave. it eating habits really are to blame. bananas ideal world every banana looks the same taste as the same as the company produced only one variety. of. tasty treats he and
hearty out there for exportable demand kept on growing. but it is not enough to have the right hand before he went on the security. it is also necessary to buy because i'm pretty sure this is good for an old foundation. on the plantations weakened by intensive monoculture to their owners parasites were spreading panama disease and yellow. chiquita banana swaying hips couldn't hide the reality the empire was rushing probably a sad. samuel's a barry 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 vision in arrows the poison us. very soon their skin folk on a blue chip they fell ill doesn't start. the lifetime of a plantation fell from ten to three years those infected by parasites were abandoned. more jungle was cut down to create new plantations. it was as if united fruit had taken over the whole of central america you believe. leaving a. picture of no business or d.c. forcing but 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. skill based on the many freaked out at this example shows that the company should have realized that doing this was not in its interests if you get it the other 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 couldn't make this happen. schnabel seculars in the end just a self-perpetuating logic required someone who is in charge to step in and say stop this remasters we need to do this differently or that it will increase or come on got to. be over in the field the religious impulse 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 jorge will be calling. the ones i don't relish the idea for a model of what if you want to dictate or was a good friend of the united fruit company. to be close saw himself as the reincarnation of napoleon. and fearing a loss of power had to bend to 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. it was. not a nationalist like you know it's a fruit stall to debility 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 deal was negotiating everything and that's that's a veritable. nightmare for multinationals and they prefer to work as a operate in china for example where provided the communist party approves of your activities you'll 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 and stability and to imported taters or the communist party can give
you can give you that. with its promise of workers' rights and a minimum wage guatemalan revolution no longer made the country viable for united fruit. in one nine hundred fifty one democratic elections brought taco bo out of bends to park. out of bed and 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 farmers. but at the top of the list of large earners with 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 overturned a troublesome 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. sideways was again to employ his talents of creating his own form of reality.
he set about making the protection of united for its private interests in guatemala an issue for the u.s. government thanks to. edward bernays was to create a fiction for nine hundred fifty s. america submerged in the cold war. is what i'm going to out of equitable is just occupied by a. couple our bareness was a social democrat nationalist and reforma. 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 there's 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 the that is the reality and that's something he was greatly admired in studied in nazi germany who carried part truth to another. to another level and now we've we see in our present poured with. social networks on and much else the story intensifying. with award severe consequences for for democracy but we could already see where we're going to lead with episodes like and 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. help me. eyes in heart advocated a frontal offensive against communism. he placed two brothers 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. kids 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 which 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. the operation was named success. edward bernays efforts were bearing fruit.
the cia supported an opponent of the arbenz regime colonel crusty joe out of mass. and he became leader of a national liberation army trained by the cia. the plantations of the united fruit company became rear guard bases. in june one nine hundred fifty four the capital quite a modest city was gone. over power of how kobol our parents 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. after becoming president with support from the united states custody or 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 life. after the coup quote from allah was thrown into a civil war that continued until nineteen ninety six. it left more than one hundred thousand dead a million displaced and tens of thousands missing. the mire 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 guatemala. he had been radicalized by the overthrow of the cold war arbenz he no longer believed in reform but in revolution. the way. in one nine hundred sixty feet in the castro nationalized all north american businesses. the i. was. sure
we i. this time both edward but days and samuel's a maori were powerless. summery 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 coverage. 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 and simple free. today by not having been in a certain way when they are black brown and. then i. am
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