The Acts of the Democracies




USA and Europe

The USA puts economic pressure on Europe over sales of bananas.

Many European countries have quotas for buying bananas from their ex-colonies in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean. The quotas are meant to protect the fragile economies of these countries. The bananas are grown in small family run plantations using environmentally friendly methods.

The USA puts pressure on Europe (via the World Trade Organisation - WTO) to buy more bananas from Central and South America. These bananas are grown by American companies in enormous chemical-intensive plantations using cheap labour. The workers face dangers from at least 8 poisonous pesticides and violence from their bosses. Three American companies (Chiquita, Del Monte and Dole) already have 66% of all banana sales in Europe.

During the 1990's Del Monte was linked to violence against banana workers in Guatemala and accused of union busting.

Banana workers in the banana plantations in Central America are being paid as little as $0.63 an hour or $28 a week. Some have been affected by chemicals in packing plants, making them ill, and giving them sores. Workers in the field have been subjected to aerial fumigation of the crops without protective clothing. The foul-smelling chemicals (reported to be chlorophrifos that attack the nervous system) make them feel nauseous, causing nosebleeds, sore eyes, and breathing difficulties.

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