Wednesday, 2 January 2008


Every so often, when my ankle’s working properly, I dress up as a banana and along with several hundred other people attired in various shades of yellow put on my running shoes and take part in a charity run for Leukaemia Research. (I also managed to do six miles around central London as a gorilla last September, which was damnably hot, and another six kilometres as Santa Claus in December, which was damnably cold.)

But now I find myself on the horns of an ethical dilemma because the Leukaemia Research runs are sponsored by the US banana corporation Chiquita. The corporation was fined $25 million last year after admitting to paying millions of dollars to Colombian paramilitaries between 1997 and 2004. This included a payment of about $1.7 million to the right-wing United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC).

The AUC has been responsible for some of the worst atrocities in Colombia’s ongoing civil conflict, including civilian massacres and the murder of trade unionists. It also controls a large proportion of Colombia’s cocaine exports. I came to terms with the fact that there’s no such thing as an ethical cocaine habit a long time ago, but I’m finding it difficult to decide what to do about the fact that bananas and charity runs can be equally morally dubious.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thats all right our government hired a firm which is refusing to pay out on real claims for disability in America it's been fined £400 million, Brown has now hired this company Unam Provident to get us disabled people back to work. it seems big companies are allowed to cheat kill and murder in the name of profits, your run might at least a few people in the UK the chance of a better life, think of the charity not the backing.