Chiquita Brands is being sued over 931 murders allegedly carried out by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) and the United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – AUC). A victims’ attorney on the case said the multinational had admitted to paying the FARC between 1987 and 1999 to protect its bananas plantations, Semana reports. When the landowners created the AUC to defend their territory from the FARC, Chiquita Brands allegedly began paying AUC instead. According to the plaintiffs, this situation contributed to the murders and violence in Uraba at the hands of both groups.
- Guatemala‘s president, Alvaro Colom, announced that he will get divorced from his wife in order to allow her to stand as a candidate in this year’s presidential elections. CNN reports that the decision was taken 15 days ago. Colom said that the move is for the good of the country, as he and his wife want to follow the same political programs in education, health and aid to the most needy sectors of the population. The pair are facing strong criticism of their decision.
- Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the Mexican gangs are after a new target: corn. Due to high grain prices caused by a cold snap, organized criminal groups are attacking warehouses and trucks in the state of Sinaloa. This has forced companies to increase security, and posed a new challenge to Mexican government in trying to keep the economy strong. One agricultural producer said that the criminals “come in groups of 20 or 30 masked men with their own trailers.”
- In other news, President Obama said in an interview with CNN that he recognizes President Calderon’s frustration over the strengthening of cartels in Mexico. The U.S. leader said that his country’s bilateral cooperation in security issues with Mexico is unique, and that the U.S will maintain and reinforce it. Obama also discussed immigration, and his fight to defend and integrate immigrant populations into the U.S., Milenio reports.