The AUC is listed by the US State Department as a
terrorist organization and US law clearly states that it is illegal for
any person knowingly to provide material support or resources to an
organization on that list. The problem is that enforcement of this law
is very weak. Way back in 2001, four Congressmen sent a letter to
former Attorney General John Ashcroft calling for increased scrutiny of
multinational corporations and their support for armed groups who
threaten human rights activists. However, Chiquita is just one of many
corporations around the world with ties to paramilitary groups. This
issue is of special concern to those who support labor rights, since the AUC has been implicated in violence against trade unions, which has made Colombia the most dangerous country for labor organizing in the world.
The story is especially interesting since it comes at a time when high-level government officials in Colombia are stepping down after their connections with paramilitaries are being revealed, the US Congress is debating a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and Bush just visited the country on his Latin America tour last weekend.