The Octopus in the Cathedral of Salt, an investigative essay on the link between the Chiquita banana company and Colombian paramilitary organization AUC.
September 25, 2007 8:02 AM   Subscribe

The Octopus in the Cathedral of Salt is an investigative essay by Phillip Robertson with pictures by photojournalist Carlos Villalon on the link between the Chiquita banana company and Colombian paramilitary organization AUC. Excerpt: We were drinking Aguilas and the night was winding down and I was half-listening to the conversation. Everyone else had gone downstairs. Carlos turned to me and said, “Is there anything you want to ask him before he goes home?” “I want to know if he heard anything about a shipment of guns that arrived at the Chiquita docks.” Years had passed, but it was worth a shot. “Sure,” Lorenzo said, “I was there. I supervised the unloading of the rifles.”

The octopus of the title is the Chiquita banana company, formerly known as United Fruit and this is the Cathedral of Salt. Here's a previous thread on Chiquita's guilty plea for dealing with AUC and FARC. For more of Villalon's work click here.
posted by Kattullus (8 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks goodness it's not another Eric Raymond essay.

The amount of blood that has been spilled over bananas is disturbing. Interesting stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 8:20 AM on September 25, 2007

It's tough working for Virginia Quarterly Review and also avoiding self-linking on MeFi. We publish so much awesome stuff that I'd love to share here, but I have to restrain myself from doing so. Thanks for the link, Kattullus.
posted by waldo at 8:29 AM on September 25, 2007

Yes, waldo, Virginia Quarterly Review is an amazing magazine.
posted by Kattullus at 8:34 AM on September 25, 2007

The role of the United Fruit Company in overthrowing Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz is discussed here.
posted by jonp72 at 9:54 AM on September 25, 2007

Nifty. Interesting read.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:43 AM on September 25, 2007

I don't feel like I should eat bananas anymore.
posted by Dukebloo at 8:49 PM on September 25, 2007

Not Chiquita ones, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 4:17 PM on September 26, 2007

Oh God! It looks like I jumped the gun on the link to the essay. The entire contents of this issue of VQR can be accessed online. If I hadn't posted this essay already, I would post this. It even includes an excerpt from Roberto Bolaño's Nazi Literature in the Americas. In the last two weeks I've read nothing but Bolaño. His novel The Savage Detectives is a masterpiece.
posted by Kattullus at 10:27 PM on October 15, 2007

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