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Latest podcast episodes about middle american

Midnight Train Podcast
The Banana Massacre - Yep, bananas. Happy Thanksgiving 2021

Midnight Train Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 90:05


So we're gonna get into something a bit different this week. Not really truecrime, not unsolved, but definitely crazy. This is another one we got from a listener that we had no clue ever happened. While the official death toll of this incident is usually put at around 45, some estimates say it could be up to 2000. Those bodies are said to either have been dumped in the sea or buried in mass graves. So what was the incident about you ask? Well, long story very short… Bananas. We're gonna dive into what is simply known as the Banana massacre,  a crazy tale of a government squashing a banana strike with excessive force and what came after. Buckle up guys, here we go!   Before we start, I want to acknowledge the great sources of info for this episode. 90% of the information on this week's episode came from two amazing sources that had tons of info that we couldn't find anywhere else. First a paper by Jorge Enrique Elias Caro and Antonino Vidal Ortega on the website scielo.org was our source for the actual massacre info while an article called Rotten Fruit by Peter Chapman on the Financial Times website was our source for the company history.  So, let's start by talking about a fruit company. United Fruit company to be exact. United Fruit began life in the 1870s when Minor Cooper Keith, a wealthy young New Yorker, started growing bananas as a business sideline, alongside a railway line he was building in Costa Rica. Both ventures took off, and by 1890 he was married to the daughter of a former president of Costa Rica and owned vast banana plantations on land given to him by the state. The bananas were shipped to New Orleans and Boston, where demand soon began to outstrip supply.Keith teamed up with Andrew Preston, a Boston importer, and in 1899 they formed United Fruit. Bananas sold well for their tropical cachet: they were exotic, a luxury only affordable to the rich. But the rapidly rising output of United Fruit's plantations brought down prices. The company created a mass market in the industrial cities of the US north-east and Midwest. The once bourgeois banana became positively proletarian.   By the 1920s, United Fruit's empire had spread across Central America. It also included Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In South America the company owned chunks of Colombia and Ecuador. It came to dominate the European as well as the US banana markets with the help of its Great White Fleet of 100 refrigerated ships, the largest private navy in the world.   There are more than 300 varieties of banana, but United Fruit grew only one: the Gros Michel or ”Big Mike”. This variety suited most tastes; it was not too big or too small, too yellow or too sweet - if anything, it was a little bland. This was the forerunner of the transnational products we have today.           But mass production took its toll. In 1903, disease hit United Fruit's plantations in Panama. An array of pathogens kept up the attack, and the banana was discovered to have a genetic weakness. Its seeds are ill equipped for reproduction, so growers take cuttings from one plant to create another. The banana is a clone, with each inbred generation less resilient.    Although the banana was diseased, United Fruit marketed it as a product that exemplified good health. Banana diseases did not affect humans, and the fruit was said to be the cure for many ills: obesity, blood pressure, constipation - even depression. In 1929, United Fruit set up its own ”education department”, which supplied US schools with teaching kits extolling the benefits of the banana and the good works of the company. Meanwhile, United Fruit's ”home economics” department showered housewives with banana recipes.   One of United Fruit's most successful advertising campaigns began in 1944, designed to boost the banana's profile after its scarcity during the war. It featured Senorita Chiquita Banana, a cartoon banana who danced and sang in an exuberant Latin style. Senorita Chiquita bore a close resemblance to Carmen Miranda, the Brazilian entertainer who, in her ”tutti-frutti” hat, wowed Hollywood at the time. Sales soon regained prewar levels.   By the 1960s, the banana had become an inseparable accompaniment to the morning cereal of most American children. And today, in countries such as the US and Britain, it has ousted the apple as the most popular fruit. In the UK, figures indicate that more than 95 per cent of households buy bananas each week, and that more money is spent on them than on any other supermarket item, apart from petrol and lottery tickets.    Soooo sounds like a pretty typical big business rise to power by providing a wholesome treat to the people right? Wrong… There was more going on than almost everybody knew.    Over the years, United Fruit fought hard for low taxes and light regulation. By the beginning of the 20th century, troublesome anti-trust laws had been passed in the US to crack down on business behaviour such as price-fixing and other monopolistic practices. Taxes on large corporations were increased to fund welfare benefits in the US and fully fledged welfare states in Europe. But, with a centre of operations far from the lawmakers of Washington DC, United Fruit largely avoided all this.   The company also gained a reputation as being ruthless when crossed, and acted to remove governments that did not comply with its wishes. United Fruit had first shown its tough nature in the invasion of Honduras in 1911, which was planned by Sam ”The Banana Man” Zemurray, a business partner of United Fruit who later headed the company. Efforts by Zemurray and United Fruit to set up production in Honduras had been blocked by the Honduran government, which was fearful of the power it might wield. United Fruit was not so easily deterred. Zemurray financed an invasion, led by such enterprising types as ”General” (self-appointed) Lee Christmas and freelance trouble-shooter Guy ”Machine Gun” Molony. Thanks to United Fruit, many more exercises in ”regime change” were carried out in the name of the banana.   In 1941, the company hired a new consultant, Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, who had adapted the early disciplines of psychoanalysis to the marketplace. Bernays is known as the ”father of public relations” following his seminal 1928 book, Propaganda, in which he argued that it was the duty of the ”intelligent minority” of society to manipulate the unthinking ”group mind”. This, Bernays asserted, was for the sake of freedom and democracy.   United Fruit had become concerned about its image. In Central America, it was commonly known as el pulpo (the octopus) - its tentacles everywhere. In the US, United Fruit's territories were seen as troubled and forbidding. Under Bernays' guidance, the company began issuing a steady flow of information to the media about its work, rebranding the region as ”Middle America”.   America”.   In 1954, Bernays exercised his manipulative powers to get rid of the Guatemalan government. Democratically elected, it had taken some of United Fruit's large areas of unused land to give to peasant farmers. Bernays' response was to call newspaper contacts who might be amenable to the company view. Journalists were sent on ”fact finding” missions to Central America and, in particular, Guatemala, where they chased false stories of gunfire and bombs. In dispatches home, Guatemala became a place gripped by ”communist terror”.   The company looked, too, to friends in high places, both in the corridors of power and in the offices where the big decisions were made. During the Guatemalan crisis, John Foster Dulles, one of the world's most esteemed statesmen, was secretary of state. His brother, Allen Dulles, was head of the CIA. Both were former legal advisers to United Fruit. Together, the Dulles brothers orchestrated the coup that overthrew Guatemala's government in 1954.   Despite its ugly reputation, United Fruit often made philanthropic gestures.  Eli Black, chief executive of the United Fruit Company, played a part in coining the term ”corporate social responsibility” when, in reference to earthquake relief sent to Nicaragua in 1972, he extolled the company's deeds as ”our social responsibility”.  And in the 1930s, Sam Zemurray donated part of his fortune to a children's clinic in New Orleans. He later gave $1m to the city's Tulane University to finance ”Middle American'' research; he also funded a Harvard professorship for women. Philanthropy, however, did not prevent United Fruit's abuses, and, in the 1950s, the US government decided it had to act. The company's activities had caused such anti-US feeling in Latin America that leftwing revolutionaries such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara had prospered. And so Washington began to take away some of United Fruit's land.   Ironically, Castro had benefited from the presence of United Fruit in Cuba. His father, a sugar planter, leased land from the company, and had made enough money to afford a good upbringing for his children. Guevara had fought both United Fruit and the CIA during the Guatemalan coup; he maintained thereafter that Latin America had no choice but ”armed struggle”. At New Year 1959, Castro and Guevara seized power in Cuba and kicked out the US-supported regime of Fulgencio Batista.   Like an ailing dictator, United Fruit lashed out - and nearly took the world with it. In 1961, it lent part of its Great White Fleet to the CIA and Cuban exiles in the US who were plotting to overthrow Castro. When the Bay of Pigs invasion failed, Castro, fearing another attack, ushered in armaments from the Soviet Union, prompting the missile crisis of 1962.   United Fruit battled on through the 1960s, its product ever more the victim of disease. Big Mike flagged, died and gave way to the dessert banana most of the developed world eats today, the Cavendish. It was said to be ”disease resistant”. Now that's dying, too.   Eli Black took over the company in 1970, imagining he could turn it back into the colossus it once was. The early 1970s, however, were a terrible period for the image of multinational corporations. Chief among them, oil companies made huge profits from the crisis after the 1973 Middle East war, to the inflationary ruin of rich and poor countries alike. United Fruit became an embarrassment. It was weak where others, such as the oil moguls, remained strong. When its stock market value crashed and regulators moved in, it looked like natural selection.   Early on Monday February 3 1975, a man threw himself out of his office window, 44 floors above Park Avenue, New York. He had used his briefcase to smash the window, and then thrown it out before he leapt, scattering papers for blocks around. Glass fell on to the rush-hour traffic, but amazingly no one else was hurt. The body landed away from the road, near a postal service office. Postmen helped emergency workers clear up the mess so the day's business could carry on.    This jumper was quickly identified as Eli Black, chief executive of the United Fruit Company.   It emerged that Black, a devout family man, had bribed the Honduran president, Oswaldo Lopez Arellano, with $1.25m to encourage him to pull out of a banana cartel which opposed United Fruit. The story was about to come out in the US press. United Fruit's Central American plantations were also struggling with hurricane damage and a new banana disease. Facing disgrace and failure, Black took his own life. His death was shocking, not least because he had the reputation of a highly moral man. Wall Street was outraged, the company's shares crashed and regulators seized its books to prevent ”its further violation of the law”. The company subsequently disappeared from public view and was seemingly erased from the collective mind.   After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, in a born-again spirit of globalisation, the world's main banana companies picked up the free-market banner once carried by United Fruit. The companies - Chiquita, Del Monte and Dole from the US, and Noboa from Ecuador - did not have anything like the force of United Fruit individually, but they were still a formidable presence. Together they were known to their critics, if not to themselves, as the ”Wild Bunch”.   In the 1990s, the US took its case to the World Trade Organisation, the new high court of globalisation. The companies protested that west European countries unfairly protected the producers of so-called ”Fairtrade” bananas in former European colonies through a complex system of quotas and licences. The Wild Bunch characterised this as revamped colonialism and outmoded welfare state-ism and, instead, promoted their own ”Free Trade” bananas.   In the new millennium, after what had become a general trade war, the Europeans backed down and agreed to concessions. They did so with some rancour, protesting that Washington had again allowed itself to be manipulated by narrow interests. Some spoke of a return of the ”old and dark forces”. They were thinking of United Fruit.   Ok so that's kind of a basic history of United Fruit company to get us going in the right direction to talk about one of the most brutal things they carried out on their workers. You've seen the connection they had and the power they had.. Pretty nuts for a fucking banana company.    On the evening of October 5, 1928, the delegates for Colombia's banana workers in Magdalena gathered to discuss their grievances. Among their concerns were their long hours and low pay; one worker, Aristides López Rojano, remembered: “We worked from six in the morning until eleven and then from one in the afternoon until six.... The contractor paid the salary and reserved up to thirty percent for himself.” Erasmo Coronel (the one wearing the bowtie in the group portrait) spoke in favor of a strike, and the others agreed. At around five in the morning on October 6, 1928, the workers issued the United Fruit Company a list of nine demands.   Stop their practice of hiring through sub-contractors   Mandatory collective insurance   Compensation for work accidents   Hygienic dormitories and 6 day work weeks   Increase in daily pay for workers who earned less than 100 pesos per month   Weekly wage   Abolition of office stores   Abolition of payment through coupons rather than money   Improvement of hospital services   The strike turned into the largest labor movement ever witnessed in the country until then. Radical members of the Liberal Party, as well as members of the Socialist and Communist Parties, participated.   The workers wanted to be recognized as employees, and demanded the implementation of the Colombian legal framework of the 1920s.   After U.S. officials in Colombia and United Fruit representatives portrayed the workers' strike as "communist" with a "subversive tendency" in telegrams to Frank B. Kellogg, the United States Secretary of State, the United States government threatened to invade with the U.S. Marine Corps if the Colombian government did not act to protect United Fruit's interests. The Colombian government was also compelled to work for the interests of the company, considering they could cut off trade of Colombian bananas with significant markets such as the United States and Europe.   As there was no agreement the Government militarized the zone. The newspaper "La Prensa" published the following:   "MORE TROOPS FOR THE BANANERA REGION. We have been informed that the leaving of the Commissioner sent by the Industry Ministry due to the existing conflict between the workers and the company has turned the situation critical. For this reason, the War Ministry ordered the concentration of more troops in Ciénaga. Therefore, yesterday night, a numerous contingent was dispatched from here on a special ship"   By the end of November the Magdalena Agriculture Society tried to find a solution to the situation. They named a Commission and along with the Chief of the Work Office and the workers' delegates would have a meeting with the UFC since the conflict was affecting everyone's interests. The multinational rejected meeting the Commission stating that the workers were out of the law. The representatives of the workers left for Ciénaga with the aim of convincing their fellow workers to abandon the region. They also demanded the arbitration as a last legal resort.   Social Party (PSR) founded in 1927 in Bogotá. The strike was also supported by the national and departmental union leaders ascribed to the Magdalena Workers Federation, the Magdalena Worker Union and the General Union of Workers of the Union Society (popularly known as the Yellow Union which integrated railway, port and construction workers of Santa Marta).   The first week of December everything was at a standstill, without a solution. The company hired a steamboat and brought 200 military men and took over the town hall without the mayor's authorization. To this respect the Ciénaga newspaper "Diario del Córdoba" noted:   "We do not know who ordered changing the town house into a campsite of troops, but we are certain that the municipality spokesman was not consulted for this illegal occupation. He would have certainly opposed it since there was no alteration of public order according to the norms in force. We see that the procedures here are "manu militari", without any consideration under the obvious alarm of these peoples, panic in society and business."   Military roadblocks were displayed. Trains were searched and the army prevented strikers from using them33. Tension increased and temporary workers started to return to their hometowns. Military pressure blocked the communication systems and the mail, telephones, telegraph and even the press stopped working. The strikers seized the train from Ciénaga to the plantations and they prevented its exit during the day.   On December 3rd, the press was conscious of the extreme situation: The situation of the Banana Strike is worse than ever. Especially because of the uneasiness caused by the Governor's Office for having called the Army. Any kind of meeting was banned, as it was assumed that they questioned the state legitimacy and stability and the government decisions. This measure outraged workers, because some detentions took place in Ciénaga and they were justified by the police since some documents of an apparently communist campaign were confiscated.   From this moment on, American Diplomats started to worry for the security of the American employees up to the point that the Government of the United States sent a ship to Santa Marta for the protection of their citizens as was stated by the US ambassador in Bogotá. He made clear that it was not a war cruise. Anyhow, it was possible to confirm that in the ports of Ciénaga and Santa Marta war ships docked with the aim of reinforcing troops.    To break the strike, on December 2nd, a military contingent of 300 men arrived in Ciénaga from the interior of the country. The major of the zone considered that these soldiers would be better at facing the situation than those native of the region. At the same time that same day some municipalities protested against the disposition of the governor's office. The workers exodus continued, the general situation of commerce aggravated, many commercial houses closed and some of them stopped paying their debts alleging the scarce security conditions and low sales. Similarly occurred with the stores of the UFC which closed due to lack of business activity. There was a total lack of supplies of basic products in the banana zone.   With the excuse that in Ciénaga the strikers were committing all kinds of outrages, the army seized the train to mobilize troops to the different towns, preventing normal circulation; this information proved false and the train returned to Cienaga during the first hours of the next day. The community remained isolated and without the possibility to use the train as a transportation means. The train was used by the militaries for the surveillance of plantations.   A State of Siege declaration was expected and this increased tension among strikers who organized collective bodies in different locations to prevent the work of producers. Detentions continued. The train detention by the military and the impossibility to take bananas out due to the positions of the strikers and small landowners, the harvested fruit began to rot.   The Workers Union used the newspaper Vanguardia Obrera and other pasquinades to inform about their position and to keep public opinion updated. On December 5th, alleging that the strikers had managed to get weapons, the government decreed the State of Siege. This was not made public to the workers and for this reason they became more exacerbated.   A pressure mechanism used to obtain the support of merchants was the fact of creating solidarity to boycott the public market stores and other commercial firms if the transaction was not authorized by the Workers Union. This way, merchants could not sell if they did not have the "permission". To accomplish this policy the union had 5.000 workers acting as vigilantes. This situation led the UFC to ask the government if the State was in condition to protect its interests. The State response was dubious. In its effort to reach an equilibrium between the pressure of the company and that of the workers, it submitted a communication where it stated that it would analyse the situation and would take the corresponding steps.   The workers' unrest for not feeling the State support led them to radicalization of their protest and since that moment, seizures of banana farms took place in different municipalities. There were confrontations between land owners, the military and the workers. It is worth mentioning the events in Sevilla, where workers detained a group of soldiers.   As the tension increased with this last event the Ministry Council declared general alteration of public order on December 5th, and gave special faculties to Minister Arrazola to act as a mediator between the parties and positioned General Cortés Vargas as Civil and Military Chief. This intervention was justified by the economic losses of the socio-economic and political system of the nation because it had been estimated that up to that moment the losses exceeded one million dollars and given the fact that the fierce position of the workers had stopped communications and transportations and even there had been seizures in several localities and there was fear concerning the situation of Santa Marta.   The government sent information to the United Press as follows: "The government has decreed the State of Siege in the Province of Santa Marta where the workers of the United Fruit Company maintain a strike lasting several days. General Carlos Cortés Vargas has been appointed Civil and Military Chief". On the other hand, the national press and especially that of the capital announced: " there has never been a longer and more numerous strike in the country than this of the workers of Magdalena. Thirty-two thousand workers have been in total inactivity for more than thirty days in the banana region, there are no signs that this situation will have a favourable solution"   Events reached their peak in Ciénaga. The workers had concentrated for a pacific demonstration in the evening of the 5th of December. The Governor Nuñez Roca decreed the dispersion of the demonstration. The workers did not receive this well; they declared that authorities had taken this decision with the support of the UFC and the militaries without the presence of workers' representatives. This made clear to them that authorities were defending the interests of the Company and the local "bananacracy"and not theirs as Colombian workers. The concentration ended in a protest.   The militaries obeyed the orders of the Governor and it was authorized to follow orders and demand the workers to dissolve the demonstration as it was not authorized.   The text was read in the square and at the same time the troop took positions. There were approximately 1.500 strikers in the square.   The army gave the strikers 15 minutes to disperse and the workers' answer was a the massive agitation of the Colombian flags and shouts related to the workers movement. The army responded with drumbeats and the menace to repel the strikers. Three bugle warnings were given, but nevertheless the strikers remained in their positions. A deep silence reigned in the square and the menace of the army became an unfortunate reality when the shout "Shoot" was uttered. Rifles and machine guns were discharged against the defenceless and unarmed demonstrators. In minutes the ground of the square was tinted with blood.   Once the attack of the army against their own fellow citizens ended, the sight was dantesque. The cadavers, the wounded and their relatives were troubling scenes. These events took place at the dawn of December 6th: a brutal aggression against a workers' demonstration.   The news invaded the media and the first chronicles appeared with living information about the tragic balance of the events. The first report on the newspaper "La Prensa" from Barranquilla informed of 8 people killed and 20 wounded. After a week, the same newspaper mentioned 100 dead and 238 wounded. Meanwhile official sources and diplomatic communications signalled the number of people killed as being 1.000. This number, and along with other kind of testimonies collected, agree that the number of killings was over a thousand and that the militaries loaded the trains with the corpses and buried them in mass graves in inaccessible areas and up to the present times they have not been localized.   This repression caused a massive exodus of the terrified population. They abandoned the zone and migrated to different parts of the country for fear of military persecution and arrestment. Many of them left their scarce possessions behind.   National and international media widely covered this event. Both the UFC and the government tried to manipulate the information to protect their image. The press echoed and broadcasted the sometimes biased news, informing about "combats" between the army troops and the "revolutionaries" and that as a result of these combats, 8 "bandits" were killed and 20 were wounded. The War Ministry insisted that "in Magdalena there was no strike, but a revolution".   Other newspapers such as "La Prensa" from Barranquilla, issued their edition of December 8th in red characters as a reference to this event that brought mourning to the entire country and as a symbolic commemorative act.   Referring to a communication sent to the United Press, the War Ministry informed officially that in the attack of the strikers against the troops there had been 8 dead and 20 wounded and that in order to control the revolutionary outbreaks against state order, the immediate mobilization of more troops had been ordered. They would arrive from cities of the interior of the country. It also emphasised the position of the government that the workers' situation in Magdalena was delicate and that vigorous decisions had to be taken in order to solve this issue. It also informed that beside Ciénaga, other localities had to be intervened.   The Times from New York informed in a biased and extended way that the turmoil in the Colombian Banana Region was provoked by Mexican incendiaries, who had led the process of the Mexican Revolution, two decades earlier. It also gave details about the aspects of the banana strike that were consequences of the expiration of the Barco Concession .   At the same time the UFC issued a press communication to the New York agencies and the worldwide correspondents declaring: "the difficult situation experienced during the past days in the Colombian banana region, where the company has valuable interests, has quite improved in the last 24 hours and the dispatches sent from the scene, give rise to expectations for a prompt solution of the conflict surged between the workers and the company which ended in an extended strike of revolutionary nature".   While the American press provided biased information, trying to defend the multinational interests and that of their government, the national press analysed the situation with greater objectivity. The daily newspaper "El Tiempo" from Bogotá commented in an extended note that most of the claims of the strikers were righteous improvement of working conditions. Nevertheless, due to its conservative position, the editorial stated that they did not agree with the strike since they considered that the workers had a bad leadership and they made the leaders responsible for what had happened. They reminded the authorities that force is not the supreme reason as the only system to solve a conflict since violence is not a valid option to impose certain vindications.   In response to these events and as a protest for the massacre, several offices of the United Fruit and the railway were set on fire and destroyed. The hard situation caused by the army repression and the lack of jobs led to the assault of the company's stores where people seized food.    "It is not about fixing anyhow a difficult situation, it is about avoiding more critical events in the immediate future. Therefore we need a wise, prudent, political Colombian, who does not forget the circumstances regarding the conflict. Someone who does not forget how the United Fruit Company manipulates the political and civil life of Magdalena and who does not think it indispensable to send troops for hunting workers as animals. Someone who will not be hard and inflexible with them and subordinated and honey mouthed with the company agents"   After the massacre, the workers who managed to escape emigrated to other areas of the region and new versions of the events started to become public. It was the version of the defeated. This version informed the public opinion about the concentration in the Ciénaga square and not in farms as had been informed by authorities to justify the fact of not being able to notify the exact number of deaths.   On December 10th after a convulsed weekend, the headings announced "the revolutionaries' flee in stampede to the Sierra Nevada," "government troops completely defeated the strikers "; the War Minister informs that there were more deaths during the last combats". In general, the press informed about a revolutionary movement which confronted the military forces and that the army was responding with rigor, but that there had not been any excess on their part. The banana zone was returning to normal, as well as the train service between Ciénaga and Santa Marta and the steam boat service between Ciénaga and Barranquilla. They also informed that since public order had been reestablished, businesses had already opened and that the exodus of the population had ended.   General Cortés Vargas issued a decree through which the revolutionaries of Magdalena were declared a gang of outlaws. The decree consisted of three articles and in one section, as a justification, it was stated that the rebel strikers committed all kinds of outrages: arson in public and private property, pillage, interruption of telegraphic and telephonic communications, destruction of railways, assault of citizens who did not agree with their communist and anarchist doctrine. This was the justification for decreeing martial law to give security to citizens and to re-establish public order. On the other hand the workers' leaders and accessories should be prosecuted to face their responsibilities. And to finish, the public force was authorized to use their guns.   At the same time troops were sent to avoid the surviving strikers' flee to the Sierra Nevada and the Departament of Atlántico. To accomplish this all the towns neighbouring the banana zone were alerted. Numerous detentions occurred and the prisoners were sent to Ciénaga to be judged by a Martial Court.   Wow…. Fucking bananas caused all this shit… Well obviously not than JUST bananas but holy shit man.    So the crazy thing is United Fruit company continued to operate did so long after this incident until eventually after the the suicide of Eli Black things unraveled and the company went away. Or did it? Well it did not. In fact the company is now still a huge banana company called… Chiquita! But at least all that bullshit is on the past… Oh wait wait… No it's not!    While Chiquita is not actively massacring people, in 2007, it admitted to paying $1.7 million to the United Self-Defense Forces of Columbia (A.U.C.), a far-right paramilitary group responsible for thousands of killings and some of the worst massacres in Colombia. The A.U.C. was designated by the United States as a terrorist group at the time and Chiquita was forced to pay $25 million for violating counterterrorism laws. In particular, the A.U.C. targeted labor leaders, liquidated problem employees, and removed people from lands needed for cultivation.   “They are so bad that in 2001, even the Bush administration was forced to designate them as a terrorist organization,” said Terry Collingsworth, a Labor and Human Rights Attorney. He proceeds to say that multinational corporations had automatically aligned with the A.U.C. “They've made it safe for business here. That's what they do.” Collingsworth states, from his and his associates' reporting, that Chiquita likely paid much more than $1.7 million to the A.U.C.   Over much of the 20th century, banana companies like United Fruit effectively took over governments in countries like Guatemala and Honduras, leading to the countries' model being known as “banana republics”. A banana republic would describe politically unstable countries economically dependent on bananas as a sole export and product, and it has been diversified to include other limited-resource products. The CIA would strong-arm these governments to protect the business interests of banana companies at the expense of workers and people who lived in those countries, often propping up repressive regimes. With a historic priority of keeping the costs of bananas low, banana companies were willing to do whatever it took to keep prices low, from stifling labor movements, keeping wages low, and strong-arming governments. The United Fruit Company did it then, and Chiquita Brands does it now.   In 1999, President Clinton apologized to Guatemala, saying that “support for military forces and intelligence units which engaged in violence and widespread repression was wrong, and the United States must not repeat that mistake.” Movies:   Horror movies about killer food   https://screenrant.com/funniest-horror-b-movies-murderous-food/

How to Survive
How to Survive: Freaky (2021)

How to Survive

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 40:00


How to Survive is now on Patreon! Support us at Patreon.com/HowtoSurvivePod It's episode 247...and we're gonna get killed by Murder Barbie.  Freaky (2021) tells the story of Millie, a high school student who swaps bodies with a middle-aged male serial killer known as The Blissfield Butcher. Millie has until midnight on Friday the 13th to swap their bodies back - and to prevent The Butcher from running amock in her body. We compliment a quick-thinking mass murderer; consider gun safety in a Middle American town and ponder the benefits of the hitting the open road.  All of which leads to one important question: How would you survive? Whatever happens, one thing's for sure: we're not here to clam jam. Next time, 'Body Swap' season continues apace with Face/Off (1997). Get in touch! HowtoSurviveShow@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter! @HowToSurvivePod

Skylight Books Author Reading Series
SKYLIT: Erin Osmon, ”JOHN PRINE (33 1/3)” w/ Steven Hyden

Skylight Books Author Reading Series

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 41:43


He is known as the Mark Twain of American songwriting, a man who transformed the everyday happenings of regular people into plainly profound statements on war, industrialization, religion, and the human condition. Marking the 50th anniversary of the album's release, John Prine chronicles the legendary singer-songwriter's Middle American provenance, and his remarkable ascent from singing mailman to celebrated son of Chicago."Illegal Smile," "Hello in There," "Sam Stone," "Paradise," "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore," "Far from Me," "Donald and Lydia," and "Angel from Montgomery" are considered standards in the American Songbook, covered by legions of Prine's peers and admirers. Through original interviews, exhaustive research, and incisive commentary, author Erin Osmon paints an in-depth portrait of the people, places, and experiences that inspired Prine's landmark debut.   Erin discusses her entry in the 33 1/3 series with music author/journalist Steven Hyden. _______________________________________________   Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, Natalie Freeman, & Michael Kowaleski. Theme: "I Love All My Friends," an unreleased demo by Fragile Gang. Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.

Live Clickbait! Radio Shows
The Someone of the Mist

Live Clickbait! Radio Shows

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 37:34


Sarah plunges off a cliff, setting off an exploration of despair, obsession, and insanity in a Middle American town. Is there any escape? The answer is waiting in the mist…. Host: Bela Evans Starring: Camila Frausto, Bela Evans

Bad Gays
Liberace

Bad Gays

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2020 82:33


This "deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love" rose to stardom playing "classical music without the boring parts" and didn't need to stay in the closet because he wore its entire contents. How could he become an emblem of Middle American family entertainment? The United States of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s was undergoing enormous social change –– the Civil Rights Movement, the Summer of Love, Women’s Lib, the Stonewall Riots, Gay Liberation, and the beginning of the AIDS movement –– and Liberace was an entertainer who appealed to precisely those parts of the country who sought to resist those changes. Hated by classical music critics, he was beloved by audiences precisely because of the openness of his secret and the way he performed a kind of minstrel act that nevertheless won him fame, riches, and glory.  Visit our website for Patreon, T-shirts, and an eopside archive.----more---- Gabler, Neal. “Robert Harrison’s Scandalous Confidential Magazine.” Vanity Fair, April 2003. https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2003/04/robert-harrison-confidential-magazine.Liberace Music Video & Entrance 1981, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dioRwB4RvrQ.O’Connor, Pauline. “Mapping the Many Razzle-Dazzle Homes of Liberace.” Curbed LA, May 24, 2013. https://la.curbed.com/maps/mapping-the-many-razzledazzle-homes-of-liberace.Pyron, Darden Asbury. Liberace: An American Boy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.Rechy, John. “Randy Dandy.” Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2000. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-aug-06-bk-65295-story.html.Thorson, Scott. Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace. Head of Zeus, 2013. Our intro music is Arpeggia Colorix by Yann Terrien, downloaded from WFMU's Free Music Archive and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Our outro music is by DJ Michaeloswell Graphicsdesigner.

Nialler9
Kevin Morby's depiction of a Middle American twilight

Nialler9

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 23, 2020 78:49


It's Episode 110 of the Nialler9 Podcast with Niall and Andrea and with Lockdown 2 having begun we are taking a transportive trip to the American midwest with Kevin Morby, and focus on the good things.

KEXP's Sound & Vision
Kevin Morby's 'Sundowner' Puts Midwest Twilight Into Sound

KEXP's Sound & Vision

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2020 8:51


Kevin Morby feels a sense of melancholy when the sun goes down. That feeling inspired his latest album, ‘Sundowner.’ The album was written after Morby moved from LA to his hometown of Kansas City. He says this record was his “attempt to put the Middle American twilight—its beauty profound, though not always immediate— into sound.” Many of the songs paint a picture of campfires, stars, dead deer on an open road and storms. And while the sunsets mark a darkening chapter of his day, he says they are particularly beautiful in the Midwest. “They say it’s 'God’s country' or 'big sky country' and the clouds are so big out here and the clouds sort of act as these projectors for the light and just kind of hold on for a really long time,” Morby says. Support the show: https://www.kexp.org/sound/ See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Brother to Brother Devotionals
Message - Love Your Brother: Confessions of a middle-age white guy from a middle-American culture

Brother to Brother Devotionals

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 5, 2020 31:20


Tim takes a self-reflective look at his own culture and worldview to have a greater understanding and awareness of the discrimination, fear and anger that is sweeping across our nation in 2020. The three primary questions Tim explores are: Do men, not of color, see and understand the injustices in our communities toward minorities? Is there a role we may have in taking actions towards bringing fairness and justice to our communities? What does it mean to love our brother? Through a foundation of hope and encouragement in God's Word exploring these three questions, Tim challenges us through challenging himself by loving his brother, regardless of his skin color, language or tribe. To listen, care for, and empathize with him at a deeper level. Second, to acknowledge there is real discrimination and fear within communities of color that he may not fully understand, and to speak up or act when the Lord prompts him to do so. Support this podcast

Terry Meiners
Yarmuth says he expects spin and lack of vision from the State of the Union

Terry Meiners

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 4, 2020 12:46


Congressman John Yarmuth talked about what he expects in tonight's State of the Union address, including spin and a lack of vision from the President on where the country is going. He also discussed President Trump's economic numbers versus those of President Obama, the 2020 election pitting Middle American versus the coasts, what should happen after tomorrow's impeachment vote, and the Iowa Caucus debacle…

Terry Meiners
Yarmuth says he expects spin and lack of vision from the State of the Union

Terry Meiners

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 4, 2020 12:46


Congressman John Yarmuth talked about what he expects in tonight’s State of the Union address, including spin and a lack of vision from the President on where the country is going. He also discussed President Trump’s economic numbers versus those of President Obama, the 2020 election pitting Middle American versus the coasts, what should happen after tomorrow’s impeachment vote, and the Iowa Caucus debacle…

Radioland
Ep. 1 "On Air"

Radioland

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2019 19:42


Gabe Rodriguez is traveling across the country, but an unsettling turn of events lands him in Wendell, an odd Middle American town where ominous sounds are coming through the local radio station.

AISB Brazzaville
Gr4/5 AISB Social Studies Podcast: Native Americans & How People Adapt to Where They Live

AISB Brazzaville

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 5, 2019 8:41


Gr4/5 AISB SS students are learning about how the Americas were settled before European Colonization. Students created podcast interviews to discuss the roles of hunter and gatherers, unique features of Middle American culture, and his native Americans adapted to varied environments. Enjoy!

The Rogin Kim Cast
098 Engagement with the White Man w/ Ron Bush

The Rogin Kim Cast

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 18, 2019 61:05


The white man needs a hug, and Ron Bush has been hugging them until they beg for more on the road for the better part of a decade. But he’s only one man, we all need to pitch in. We have a great talk starting off with Ancient Aliens and then discussing the thing middle-aged men always do- what’s wrong with the country. President Trump is stoking racial fears against Rep. Omar by invoking the old “go back to where you came from,” by leading “SEND HER BACK” chants. Ron and I are no stranger to being told to go back to where we’re from, but we both know that we are Americans through and through. America is dealing with unhealed wounds of a racists past, and Ron and I discuss the problems as we see it, the strategy of deplatforming vs engagement, and Ron’s love of the closeted white supremacist. Ron Bush is a comedian, actor, and producer. Look out for his show, Ron Bush For President, and check him out on Twitter, FB, and IG! Please subscribe- Apple- https://apple.co/2CMR4IA Stitcher- http://bit.ly/2uBCwXT YouTube- http://bit.ly/2FPk44h Follow me! Instagram- http://bit.ly/2Ud9InN Twitter- http://bit.ly/2JUGEg1 Show Notes 00:45 Ancient Aliens 02:30 Mysteries of the Pyramids and Sphinx 04:30 Neil DeGrasse Tyson* 06:30 Leaps in Human Consciousness 09:30 Solar flare frying the grid 11:30 Opening portals to new dimensions 13:00 Infinite realities 13:45 Gay Thanos*  14:45 Women are not the minority 15:30 Women who enable white supremacy 17:20 Middle American white women in the 2016 election 18:15 Middle America alienated from media and Democrats 19:20 America’s racial wounds 20:00 Politicians believe in nothing 20:30 Congress is rich 21:00 America’s racial reckoning 22:30 White America needs self-examination 23:00 White supremacist mindset 24:00 Legacy of colonialism 24:40 Fear of a blasian planet* 27:00 Racial mixing is natural 29:00 getting attacked 29:45 I was hot as a kid* 31:00 Engagement vs deplatforming white supremacists* 31:50 Daryl Davis+ 33:20 Understanding the White Man for World Peace* 35:00 Ron Bush engages the white man 36:00 dropping knowledge in the ass** 37:20 elevate the conversation with empathy 38:50 white men need holding* 40:00 Ron’s homophobic family 40:50 Gay Jamaican granny* 42:00 Breaking boundaries 42:40 Male psychology+ 44:00 War crimes 45:00 War machine 46:00 Social trauma from war+ 48:00 Forever War 49:00 Tough situation 49:30 War is money 51:00 We are Rome* 52:00 We’re the Rebels* 53:00 Smedley Butler 54:00 Psychedelic revolution 55:30 Liberal hypocrisy 56:12 Ice Cream Man 56:45 Ron Bush’s comedy #ronbush #roginkim #america #racism #white #supremacy #nationalism #politics #gay #asian #black #closet #altright #war #empathy #2016 #trump #omar #immigration #POC #POV #daryldavis #kkk #nazi #neonazi #republican #democrat #election #2020 #bernie #socialism #empire

The Ryan & Dave Show
Episode #117 - "Gummo" Movie Review (4/12/2019)

The Ryan & Dave Show

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2019 90:57


Ryan and Dave rummage through the riffraff aftermath of the devastating 1974 tornado in Xenia, Ohio, with this provocative film debut from "Kids" writer Harmony Korine. Populated with authentic people of the region and only a couple recognizable actors (including indie darling Chloe Sevigny), the story runs the gamut of human drama, from poverty to drug abuse to racism to sexual abuse to everything else you can think of that might afflict a downtrodden Middle American town. It's disturbing, it's hilarious, but mostly it's just REAL. Also, Dave pines for the good old days of unsupervised childhood adventure, while Ryan finally stops confusing "Gummo" with the claymation character "Gumby". Next week, your hosts celebrate more James Cameron brilliance with another audio commentary, this time for his 1994 action classic "True Lies"!

Know Your Place Podcast
Episode 50 - Middle American Colleges and College Towns Livestream

Know Your Place Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 21, 2019 57:11


For the special 50th episode, I bring back on my first guest WIll Tune for a livestream about middle american colleges and college towns. We've all heard of Berkley, Princeton, Havard and Yale. However, Will and I will take a minute to talk about the middle american college atmosphere. Some colleges and campus that will be mentioned include Bloomington (IU), Muncie (Ball State), Kentucky (Lexington), Tennessee (Knoxville), and Northwestern (Evanston).

We're Talking Jags
We're Talking Jags #40 - F*ck Ted Nugent

We're Talking Jags

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2018 59:44


We are here to talk about the rookies this week as the four jag talkers find themselves talking about Middle-American rock for longer than they expected. Chandler and Myles ponder the setup of our O-line and we give our numbers for how we expect the season to play out. Finally we close with a genuine down home Patriot Conspiracy. What is it? Listen to find out ya fucking dweeb!   Find us on Twitter @WeJags or email us at TalkingJags@gmail.com or Find us on Instagram @TalkingJags for corrections or omissions

You Must Remember This
106: Hollywood Royalty/Middle-American Martyr (Jean & Jane Part 1)

You Must Remember This

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 27, 2017 45:12


Introducing our new series, “Jean and Jane,” exploring the parallel lives of Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg, two white American actresses who found great success (and husbands) in France before boldly and controversially lending their celebrity to causes like civil rights and the anti-war movement. Fonda and Seberg were both tracked by the FBI during the Nixon administration, which considered both actresses to be threats to national security. But for all their similarities, Jane and Jean would end up on different paths. They also started from very different circumstances. Today we’ll track Jane’s difficult upbringing with her famous but absentee father and troubled mother, and the path of privilege - and tragedy - that led her to the Actor’s Studio. Meanwhile, in small town, church-dominated Iowa, Jean Seberg announced herself as the town rebel at age 14 when she joined the NAACP. Three years later, she was plucked out of obscurity by a mad genius movie director to star in one of the highest-profile Hollywood movies of the late-50s.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The Goods from the Woods
Episode #45 - "That Old Time Religion" with Justin Perlman

The Goods from the Woods

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2014 72:35


In this episode, the Goods from the Woods Boys talk about the two things you should never bring up at the dinner table: politics and religion. Joining them for this Jesus-y jaunt is comedian Justin Perlman. We talk everything from Middle American milquetoast Christianity to godless liberal Hollywood's favorite faith, Scientology. Side tangents in this one include how the wrestler known as "Sting" would run a wedding. This one is great fun! Find Justin on Instagram @PerlmanNecklace.  Song of the week this week: "Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus)" by Drive-By Truckers.  Follow the show @TheGoodsPod  Rivers is @RiversLangley  Dr. Pat is @PM_Reilly  Mr. Goodnight is @SepulvedaCowboy  Pick up a Goods from the Woods t-shirt at: http://prowrestlingtees.com/TheGoodsPod

Charles Moscowitz
Hiawatha Bray: Tech columnist for the Boston Globe, Bill Tammeus: Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans

Charles Moscowitz

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2014 99:34


Chuck Morse is joined in the first hour of "Chuck Morse Speaks" by Boston Globe columnist Hiawatha Bray, the author of "You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves" in a discussion about modern tracking and its influence on life and society. Link: http://amzn.com/B00I80OI2K In the second hour Chuck is joined by Bill Tammeus, author of "Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans" in a discussion of Middle American values and virtues and their influence. Link: http://amzn.com/B00ILXXZ7S

Guest Talks
American Hegemony is a Good Thing

Guest Talks

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2008 107:04


Robert J. Lieber is Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University. He is author or editor of fifteen books on international relations and U.S. foreign policy and has been a foreign policy advisor in several presidential campaigns and a consultant to the State Department and for National Intelligence Estimates. His most recent book is The American Era: Power and Strategy for the 21st Century (2008). Michael Allen is Special Assistant to the Vice President, Government & External Relations, at the National Endowment for Democracy. He is editor of Democracy Digest, an online publication covering democratization and democracy assistance. He is currently researching a book on the cultural Cold War and its implications for the current "war of ideas." Bill Kauffman is the author of eight books, among them a novel, Every Man a King, a memoir, Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette, a biography, Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin, and a work on the Middle American antiwar tradition Ain't My America. He has won the national "Sense of Place Award" from Writers & Books and the Andrew Eiseman Writers Award. Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his Ph.D. in American diplomatic history from Princeton. He is the author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005) and The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008), among other books.

Cato Event Podcast
Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism

Cato Event Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 8, 2008 66:38


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