The following excerpt is from this URL: http://www.gsenet.org/newsltrs/panups.htm with info on the pesticide abuses at CQB at their Latin American farms - "In related news, a recent series in the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on a comprehensive year-long investigation into the Central America activities of Chiquita Brands International Inc. Chiquita Brands is the world's largest banana company, employing more than 36,000 workers and selling its fruit in 40 countries.
The Enquirer investigation into Chiquita's use of pesticides on banana plantations found that Chiquita showed disregard not only of the company's stated environmental guidelines, but also for the safety of tens of thousands of field workers. Investigators found: -- Aerial spraying when workers are in the fields. According to the report, "Chiquita subsidiaries have sprayed toxic cocktails, varying mixtures of potent chemicals on their plantations without removing workers first. These aerial sprayings can take place more than 40 times a year on plantations that are threatened by a widespread banana disease [Sigatoka]. Often these pesticides fall on workers, nearby villages, rivers or forests." -- Use of pesticides by Chiquita's subsidiaries in Latin America that are not registered for use in the U.S., Canada or Europe, contrary to company statements. These include bitertanol, azoxystrobin, imazalil and ethoprop. -- Use of pesticides in aerial spraying that are toxic to fish and birds, contrary to Chiquita's stated environmental policies. These include mancozeb, thiophanate-methyl and tridemorph.
In San Jose, Costa Rica, another Chiquita subsidiary, Polymer Plastipak, manufactures plastic bags impregnated with chlorpyrifos. The bags are used to cover bananas ripening on plants to protect them from insects. Community leaders and neighbors in the surrounding barrio have complained to the national health ministry that fumes from the factory have caused residents to suffer chronic respiratory problems, blistered skin and other serious illnesses. For many years, plant officials have denied these claims, conceding only that the plant emits a "bad odor." After Enquirer investigators questioned company officials about the problem, tests were conducted that found high quantities of chlorpyrifos being released from the plant's smokestack. Investigators also found that chlorpyrifos was being released inside the plant and into the atmosphere where the bags are cut and separated. Chiquita continues to maintain, however, that the plant poses no threat to nearby residents or workers."
Enquirer HAS removed the stories from their site. My whole point has been that it was only because they couldn't defend a story that was based on allegedly stolen evidence. And, although the publisher's letter says the evidence was therefore lacking in fact, its plainly obvious that the letter is a study in begging not to be sued.
The reporter was a star at the height of his career and this was a year-long investigation that Enquirer went into headlong. The reporter specialized in these types of whistle-blowing stories.
After the stories started on 05/03/98, CQB did make a press release denying the allegations, but at no point did they file suit. Why not?? After all, wouldn't you want to make your accuser reveal his evidence of your wrong doing (in court)? CQB obviously didn't want to have to face what they couldn't defend.
Enquirer had to bag the story once its illegal origins were uncovered, because then they could no longer rightfully prove their story's basis in court in a hypothetical suit brought by CQB. (Act 1 of a such a suit would be to have the defendant prove the basis, or verity, of their statements.) You can see here that the threat of being sued has carried more effect than the act of suing.
There's more to why I feel the way I do, but I don't feel like writing a book on it... I've read a lot about it and I hope I've presented some of the larger issues and key points that will make an impression here.