portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

corporate dominance | government | human & civil rights

Rainforest Alliance Greenwash Unveiled

According to their website:
"The Rainforest Alliance monitors and verifies that Chiquita's farms abide by strong environmental and social standards, which have positive impacts on rural communities and tropical landscapes."
I recently received an email from Costa Rica that unveils this enormous scam, just as the CAFTA agreement heads to the US House of Representatives for final approval.

http://electromagnet.us/news/images/trade/greenwash.jpg


Rainforest's "Audit Team" prepares to Greenwash the bananas
This is the tip on an iceberg of a story I cannot relate in one short article. It is not often that we hear scathing criticism of Chiquita because they manage to either murder or buy out those who oppose them. Their cozy relationship with the CIA marked a wrong turn in US foreign policy in 1952 when Harry Truman signed a top-secret order facillitating the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala for the sake of the United Fruit Company - which was run by John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen who held key positions in washington under Truman and Eisenhower.

The United Fruit Company is now known as Chiquita Brands.

In the following letter, you will get a snapshot of the picture as seen by the locals in Costa Rica, unfiltered by the green lense of "Rainforest Alliance" and their conspirators.

Lim?n, Costa Rica
June 29, 2005

Ms. Tensie Whelan
Executive Director
Rain Forest Alliance
665 Broadway 5th Floor, New York,
NY 10012-2420 USA
TEL 212/677-1900 fax 212/677-2187

Dear Ms. Whelan:

In my condition as President of the Association for the Development for the Ecology of the Province of Limon, (Asociaci?n de Desarrollo Para la Ecolog?a de la Provincia de Lim?n), an association formed as a legal entity under the laws of Costa Rica, I would like to express my deep worries on the following subject matter:

First: On December 22, 2003 I received a letter send to me as well as to Mr. Aar?n Tapia Cortes, informing on the process followed by Rain Forest Alliance, as the certifying entity and the serious problems caused by Cobal, a division of Chiquita Brands, in the Province of Lim?n, Costa Rica.

Second: In that note we were informed that RainForest Alliance completed its investigations and decided to condition the issuance of Cobal?s certification, until such time in which the series of problems caused by Cobal were solved. Let me express that such problems still persist today and no material changes have occurred. Furthermore, you must be aware that there is currently a firm ruling from the Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court of Costa Rica, against Cobal, in which Cobal has been condemmed to pay loss and damages as well as legal fees for the damages caused by Cobal in the banana plantation located in B?falo - Province of Lim?n. Proof of such damages have been attached to the Constitutional File and are of public records to all parties concerned.

Third: I wish to express to you that as of this date, Cobal has not solved the serious Environmental problems caused in such property, and even the press has been informing on the ruling against Cobal and the damages that Cobal has been compelled to mitigate.

Fourth: For me it is important to let you know in full of this situation caused by Cobal in the Province of Lim?n, since I am aware of the honorability and responsibility that RainForest Alliance has assumed in the certification procedures. It is essential that Cobal expresses in writing to the Constitutional Court how Cobal is going to comply with the final ruling dictated by such high court against Cobal, clearly expressing the remedies for the damages caused and acting in a firm direction to make sure to all parties that the damages has been repaired.

Fifth: We kindly request that representatives of Rain Forest Alliance make a visit to the banana plantation located in B?falo, to inspect the damages and to verify the need for repairing such damages. The public file of the Constitutional Court?s ruling should be also verified to attest that Cobal has not complied. These representatives will understand that so far Cobal is negligent in repairing the damages and unwilling to voluntary comply with the final ruling under the terms and conditions expressed by the Constitutional Court. It is unfortunate that companies of the economic relevance as Cobal, are reluctant to comply with the local legal procedures and the rule of law, and that in the event a ruling is issued against them, instead of following the governance of the rules, chooses to maintain an attitude of despise of the law, and expressess the unwillingness to repair of the losses and damages caused by their own fault.

Sixth: Futhermore, we have been advised that through note dated June 2, 2005, sent to Licda. Mar?a Gabriela Giralt Arias, in her condition as legal representative of the owner of the affected properties, Mr. Jorge Mart?nez Bola?os, letter sent also sent to Ms. Ana Luc?a Corrales, responsible of the Certification Services, acknowledges the problems caused by Cobal and requests Cobal?s certifying entity to intervene in the subject matter.

It must be understood that this request to the certifying entity places an enormous burden for Rain Forest Alliance, since Cobal is not willing to cooperate with the local authorities in complying with the Constitutional Court?s ruling, specially since this judgement has been issued by a legal court in Costa Rica, a country that has promised to seriously protect the environment.

It is clear that even though your entity has already expressed a criteria on the year 2003, where Rain Forest Alliance conditions its certification for Cobal and indicates that in order to extend the full certification Cobal must review its policies and procedures in internal communication and in contracting of services, the obvious environmental flaws such as those seen in B?falo cannot be ignored in any serious certification procedure. Cobal must be stopped in its negligent management of the Environmental issues, and the damages and injuries caused in B?falo must be taken as an example of what must be avoided, if seriously a company needs to be certified.

Yours Truly,

Marcos Machore Levy

Cc/ Interested organizations
Ministro de Ambiente y Energ?a.
Ministra de Salud.
Banana Link


David Roknich

DOGSPOT

homepage: homepage: http://dogspot.electromagnet.us