tv Doc Film - On Bananas and Republics Deutsche Welle June 30, 2018 5:15am-6:01am 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. i get. in the morning to get the blue been banned i like when i eat up on a sunday. obviously is the story of a fridge 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 friend the but now. 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 hype 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 as 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 humid soil of the jungle in this simple fruit that fed his workers the banana. the. first the simple food of workers the banana up. the turn of the century at markets
in the united states it was a prize delicacy expensive because it was rare and perishable. anyone who managed to transport it quickly enough before it could ripe and wrought 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 eighty 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 u.s. on march the thirty year eight hundred ninety nine they founded the united fruit company. by working to finish a multinational was 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 the call integration to quite quite an extreme x. extent including you know constructing what's going to become one of the biggest ship. in 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 bananas in virtually all big american towns. chastely nourishing fall a victim 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
myna and his associates knew they needed to grow ever more bananas over a much larger area right across central america and. 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 not. just the united fruit company itself kept on growing as needed more and more land. zim panama and costa rica local farmers were evicted
zzzzz. the supply slashing the prices anonymized grow small producers here with used to give up their banana plantations to get into financial really step by step they took over hundreds of thousands of hectares of central america's biggest land. just sitting at last 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 we think. 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 it was the beginning of. modern capitalism.
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 foundations for minor cooper keys huge wealth. for the young nations of central america it was synonymous with modernity. and marlowe wanted it sound 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 and three.
approached the one person who could help miner cookie. he agreed to build a railway in return as usual he demanded lands for banana plantations have the right to operate 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 is empire group to the detriment of the young nations in search of progress but with no resources and debts. more than lead
people in the dirt of the poor helps line the pockets of the rich that privatising the entire public sector through the 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. 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 dependents. in case of the united fruit cadres with wonderful tax free concessions and 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 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 were offering low tax low taxes now it's the core of business if you're more limited as. a 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 body uki so we prefer the law this is a political issue and 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. going up and. leave no and i had come a long way a simple fruit had led to an economic power which became the forerunner of a modern day multinational. gave in his nineteen. cabbages and kings the american writer henry described a fictional state controlled by a fruit company and created the expression republic.
the banana plantations was their domain an american enclave 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 lost lot of labor. mostly criminal. useless laborers from costa rica panama and they corralled. continue sending
jamaican laborers. the laborers on the plantations constituted the work force an entity which required organizing. the jamaicans were prize for their strength engine jurists they were imported 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 and isolated and don't file workers unions were forbidden. then tired towns
had to rebuild 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 the labor as children. wages were often paid in vouchers which laborers could use only in the. please own shops to buy food clothing furniture 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. and rest was spreading in banana land. in october one thousand nine hundred twenty eight was that the sun come up so 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 . from then on throughout the caribbean the united fruit company was simply referred to as the octopus. in june nine hundred twenty nine miner 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 nine hundred ten he had bought
up the british health ala fifes and gained access to the european market at the time of miner cooper keith's 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 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 one thousand and ten he had overturned the government of honduras which had
tried to get his way and he didn't hide the fact people came allegedly. 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 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 this. southern state he sold his entire stock at the railway stations there just for his first trip he and
forty dollars. santa the banana man had arrived. samuel the murray challenge the united fruit company until finally his competition became too troublesome for them. in november nine hundred twenty nine he accepted a merger 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 fruits 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 a journal who swallowed the whale.
interesting six years of age samuel summary was the uncontested king of bananas. was 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 economic growth and new markets for united for its 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 americans a backer 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 beyond that in a consumer society advertising was the key to creating consumer wishes which could be nurtured stimulated add in for nice and. for samuel's the money he made to the non of the fruit of the american dream. you know
you like but i am a. crime to keep it open and that i've come to stay and have a right and a certain way when they're playing when brown and i have a golden new man is paid the best and other there's a. duty to banana became a household name. you know when i get my hair greenish way or looking mean that you are africa and the man i am a rarely generated is the way i am to keep a man and i am afraid that you really shouldn't treat a family man its weight the right to leave refined and. eating habits really are to blame.
in tricky bananas ideal world everybody looks the same and tasted the same the company produced only one variety call me chef. tasty fruity and hearty at death or exportable demand kept on growing. but it is not enough to have the right conditions for the one i'm most curious. it is also missing a surprise because i'm pretty sure this is it for an open issue. on the plantations weakened by intensive monoculture to very much parasites were spreading panama disease and yellow cigarettes circa. chiquita banana swaying hips cotton tide the reality of the empire was rushing probably had some. samuel's about he had tons of pesticide sprayed over the banana
plots up to thirty times a year. those who volunteered for the job received extra pay they were known as their vinen arrows the poisonous. very soon this kid took 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. the affiliated.
pressure not because for d.c. forcing bubble 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. just a moment if it doesn't this example shows that the company should have realized that doing this was not in its interests critical other parts of corporate marketing that you got people dying in a bid to maintain a machine which harms the environment and in my god to sustainability in the economic sense is pointless through the economic news having a. level security in the end just have a self-perpetuating logic required someone who is in charge to second and saying stop us remasters we need to do this differently or that it can't even fix what
hummel got to. be over in the field but 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 jorge it will be called. the ones i don't relish the idea for a bundle of money if you want 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 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. large nationals like united fruit stuart 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 multinationals and they prefer to work as a 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 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 vulnerable for united fruit. in one nine hundred fifty one democratic elections brought taco bell out of ben's teapot. 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 bens 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 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 out of bed. names
once 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. was almost out of whack with political talk about. how kabul arbenz was a social democrat nationalist and reformer. but nays depicted him as a communist true to moscow a face of the red peril which threatened america and the free world. but they use hope to win over public opinion. he opened a central american information bureau organized press visit and suggested all the
calls to befriended publishers. so benet's really are understood it you know it's not what is happening it's the story you tell about what is happening that that is that is the reality and that's something he was greatly admired in studied in nazi germany who carry part truth to another. to another level and now we've we see in our present poured with. social networks and much else the story intensifying. with award severe consequences for for democracy but we could already see where we was going to lead with episodes like the ninety's and i trued.
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. i was in heart advocated a frontal offensive against communism. he placed two brothers in keeper john foster dulles became secretary of state. dollars 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 face a lobbyist for the company's interests. against 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. the operation was named success. edward bernays efforts were bearing fridge.
the cia supported an opponent of the arbenz regime colonel crusty joe out of my ass . 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 bombed. over power of how kabul 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 free. but neither stability nor security for life. after the coup quite 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. the a pool. 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 e.
in one nine hundred sixty three general castro nationalized all north american businesses. the i. was. sure we i. this time both edward but there is an samuel is a murray what 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 coal me share of bananas that had make united fruit rich disappeared at the end of the sixties. another banana emerged the cavendish. if 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 a simple free. today but an attempt to
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