Growing Bananas Can be a Hazardous to your health

Ok, I admit to being engrossed in reading a book about exploitation etc, which probably prompted todays image, although there was nothing in the book I’m reading about the United Fruit Company or it’s latter day incarnation as the world-wide supplier of the above photographed ubiquitous Chiquita banana. Nor does it mention the massive exploitation of people and governments in South America, Honduras and Jamaica by the United Fruit Company, about which I’d read, about ten years ago. But reading and thinking about similar things was the genesis for the idea that bore fruit in this image.


Chiquita bananas have been engineered to be picked while very green and ripen on the way to market, which is why it has so little taste. But even in Asia, where there are is a wide variety of excellent tasting bananas, the Chiquitas version is for sale in supermarkets. Why, because they look great and they look tasty. Their flesh is also usually firm and more often than not they are as cheap as or cheaper than the local product, so why wouldn’t you buy them? Ok taste, but other than that.

In Europe Chiquita are often the only bananas available in stores today, have you ever wondered why? I won’t bother to go into the politics of power that make this possible, but large groups of people have been dispossessed and many have died so that we can eat this banal banana 12 months of the year. Sadly for them, I doubt that the victims of corporate desire for more market share saw their sacrifice as positive progress.


The United Fruit Company became Chiquita Brands International in 1985. It seems the new owners found previous methods of doing business profitable and decided to go forward with the same strategies with which the company had originally grown wealthy.


The below article is interesting but not surprising


Perhaps the single most active military officer in the Banana Wars was U.S. Marine Corps Major General, Smedley Butler, who saw action in Honduras in 1903, served in Nicaragua enforcing American policy from 1909–1912, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in Veracruz in 1914, and a second Medal of Honor for bravery while “crush(ing) the Caco resistance” in Haiti in 1915. In 1935, Butler wrote in his famous book War Is a Racket:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.


On July 24, 2014, a US appeals court threw out a lawsuit against Chiquita by 4,000 Colombians alleging that the corporation was aiding the right-wing paramilitary group responsible for the deaths of family members. The court ruled 2-1 that US federal courts have no jurisdiction over Colombian claims.


How does that saying go again?

The more things change, the more they remain the same.


The picture was shot with one overhead light placed slightly behind the set up on camera right side and a silver reflector on camera left side which was used to bounce light back into the gun to give detail.

Noise was added in Photoshop

70-200mm, f7.1, 1/125sec, ISO100.


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