Colombians sue Chiquita Brands over payments to terror group

Victims of Colombia's bloody civil conflict sued US banana importer Chiquita Brands International on Wednesday for making payments to a paramilitary umbrella group blamed for thousands of killings. The suit, filed in US District Court in Manhattan, accuses the company of complicity in hundreds of deaths because of its financial support of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, also known by its Spanish initials, AUC. The plaintiffs include relatives of 387 people believed to have been killed by the right-wing group, which was responsible for some of the worst massacres in Colombia's long-running conflict. It was designated a terrorist group by the US government in 2001. The families are seeking $7.86 billion in damages from Chiquita, which they accuse of abetting atrocities including terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity.