Dangerous Bananas

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Banana Memo
Banana Memo

My buddy Lucas was telling me that he digs the site, but that I move from topic to topic too quickly for him.  Usually I listen to comments like that, say thanks, and then go back to doing my own thing, my way. But Lucas is a good man, who may be on to something.  Perhaps another step in my evolution as a citizen reporter will be to keep the focus on one topic, or at least a small amount of topics for an extended period.  Examples for this year, GMO agriculture, environmental crimes in Europe and North America, and perhaps the one I will start rolling out this week: Bananas.  (although I still maintain that its my site and a big world and I do what I want!)

You heard right on that last part: Bananas. Naners. Beloved fruit of millions if not billions of people, but lesser known for being one of the leading causes of suffering and political chaos in the 20th century.  And of course they’re not finished yet.

Lets set the stage for this issue, because its far bigger than our friend the banana. Its about two gigantic companies, you know them as Chiquita and Dole, but they’re really United Fruit and Standard Fruit.  It is about the entire Western Hemisphere, but especially Central America and goverments in places like Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Colombia. It involves the CIA and paramilitaries.

But then there’s the very agricultural-biological issues. You see the banana as we know it is currently disappearing, and it isn’t the first time in history we’ve lost a banana species.  In their massive production schemes for growing bananas, these two companies have also seen disease and fungus run rampant through their banana fields, wiping out the most popular species in the 1950’s, which is also when the current banana you probably ate today was introduced to the world.  But now another fungus has come and it will likely wipe out this banana, though I guess the fruit companies would like to keep that story quiet while they think up a marketable solution that keeps them in the drivers seat of the banana market.

Already I may be losing you, among the many branches of this story. And in order to understand the present I will certainly delve more into the past.  I’m far from the first journalist to delve into this topic, but it still seems to be one of the most under reported and preferred-to-be-forgotten problems of the last 100 years.

So on that note, stay tuned for more on the very dangerous world of bananas.

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