Banana Land

Blood, Bullets, and Poison

72 minutes 8.5/10 based on 12 votes

It seems like everybody loves bananas. It’s the most consumed fruit in the United States although it’s grown hundreds of miles away. But consumers are oblivious to what it takes to get that lovely bunch of bananas on their tables. For instance, isn’t it odd that apples that are grown in the United States cost double what bananas cost? That happens to be part of the banana industry’s business model for the last one hundred years. The real question is not why do apples cost more, but why do bananas cost so much less.

As author Dan Koeppel points out, the banana industry does this deliberately so they can literally get away with murder. This low cost means that they use poisonous pesticides instead of biological solutions, they exploit people, harm the environment and basically anything else they need to do in order to make a profit.

In 1899 a struggling businessman in Central America partnered with the Boston Fruit company to form The United Fruit Company. Their goal was to make the banana the cheapest fruit in the USA. The company grew so quickly and gained power in so many places that it became known as ‘the octopus’. They created a transport monopoly and controlled shipping in all major ports in the region. Cheap land and cheaper labor were guaranteed and soon everybody who was anybody owned United Fruit stock.

But workers in Colombia started to demand an eight-hour workday, written contracts and better salaries. One fateful day they took to the streets where their complaints were met with a rain of bullets. Over one thousand strikers were killed by the Colombian military with the full knowledge of the US State Department. This happened 80 years ago. Today, people still commemorate the massacre. This horrific crime set the precedent for the executions and the injustices that are still occurring today as multinational companies partner with paramilitary groups such as the AFC, who fight against the FARC.

On the plantations in Central America workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals that were banned from the US because they were proven to cause sterility, among other ailments. The Central American workers were not informed of the dangers of these substances and most of them were completely unprotected while using the chemicals. Some of them recall drinking the water that contained the dangerous substances and even showering in it.

Listen to these stories of injustice and the high price that is being paid so that this favorite fruit can continue to be brought to the tables of millions of families in the United States. Watch it now.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • mhm.. yeah. mmmm kay

    There’s a conspiracy everywhere…..

  • Henri Pontes

    Excellent documentary very enlightening. I will never buy another banana again. It is a damn shame that these people work like dogs and are poisoned and underpaid in the process. Capitalism, terrorism and exploitation…

    • Lester Garden

      We are in a very sad world.

  • Coriano Hijo Leal Angel Ledezm

    angel ledezma

  • Raven Shakti

    Considering all the pain and suffering involved for the workers of these banana fields; the karmic energy in the bananas must indeed be very negative and toxic. I will not eat another banana from these vicious companies. And I will enlighten anyone I see eating a banana, about what they’re really doing.

    • T.J. Whitmire

      please try not to sound snotty. its why nobody takes vegans seriously even though its about real animal abuse

      • Ravenshakti

        Hey T.J.,so you think I sound ‘snotty’. Well, that’s too bad. I’m not
        ‘vegan’; I’m vegetarian. Not that it’s any concern of yours. And what’s
        all this got to do with the abuse of workers in the banana fields
        anyway? Did you get your ‘comments nasty replies’ mixed up? Maybe you
        were just plain bored; or maybe it was just my lucky day. Try
        Meditation; it works wonders on the scattered brain.

        • T.J. Whitmire

          I’m not saying you were vegan, ( I guess I was lucky, yeah your not vegan, but most people but vegetarians will associate you guys in the same category ). I was saying the majority do not take vegans seriously because they usually claim to be of a higher being than non vegans. They often talk down to others when the situation is brought up instead of considering their ignorance of the subject. I would know I went to school in Portland and I hang out with them sometimes. It doesn’t help their cause even though it is a dead serious issue about animal abuse. And when you say enlighten anyone it brought a bad flashback. Someone in our friend group was at a sandwich shop and bought something with ham in it and one of our pretentious group members went off on her by berating her for being an enabler. I asked him wtf dude why did you say all that and yelling at her. He responded that he “enlightened her”. And when you said I will enlighten anyone I see eating a banana about what they’re really doing, I imagine that said guy going around a Walmart and being a pretentious douche to anybody picking up a thing of fruit. Not saying that you will do that, I just wan’t people to know it would only hurt the cause. And I wan’t this message to be heard as much as you, but I was told it is always the method, not the message that is really important.

          And I visit temple everyday on my way to work lol, trying to attack somebody’s intelligence and compare it to meditation is not a way to convince anybody to perform meditation. It’s about unity

          • Raven Shakti

            Hello TJ… I was not comparing Meditation to anything. I was simply stating a fact. I t does help the mind to gather itself when the brain is feeling scattered. Pure and simple. I’ll share something I love with you; I hope you don’t find it snotty. ‘Just a few words; that’s all…

            “There is only one moment
            in time when it is essential
            to awaken. That moment
            is now.”
            -The Buddha

            Peace, friend

  • Ravenshakti

    Hey T.J. you think I sound ‘snotty’. Well, that’s too bad. I’m not ‘vegan’; I’m vegetarian. Not that it’s any concern of yours. And what’s all this got to do with the abuse of workers in the banana fields anyway? Did you get your comments nasty replies mixed up? Were you plain bored or was it just my lucky day? No need to answer; I’m not in the mood.

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