Deadly Blooms: Colombia's flower industry is based on the exploitation of women workers

Kevin Watkins
The Guardian

"Flowers," wrote Goethe, "are the beautiful words and hieroglyphs of nature, with which she shows us how much she loves us." Then again, he never had to make a living by picking them.

Up on the high plains of the Savanna region around the Colombian capital of Bogota, you get a different view. Here flowers are hieroglyphs not of nature, but of exploitation. "For me flowers mean hard work, bad conditions and bad health," says Elida Duarte, a 29-year-old flower picker working for the Dole corporation, which now controls one fifth of Colombia's exports...

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