The United Fruit Company was an American corporation that traded in tropical fruit (primarily bananas), grown on Central and South American plantations, and sold in the United States and Europe.
United Fruit had a deep and long-lasting impact on the economic and political development of several Latin American countries.
Critics often accused it of exploitative neocolonialism, and described it as the archetypal example of the influence of a multinational corporation on the internal politics of the banana republics.
After a period of financial decline, United Fruit was merged with Eli M. Black’s AMK in 1970, to become the United Brands Company. In 1984, Carl Lindner, Jr. transformed United Brands into the present-day Chiquita Brands International.
One of the most notorious strikes by United Fruit workers broke out on 12 November 1928 on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, near Santa Marta. On December 6, Colombian Army troops allegedly under the command of General Cortés Vargas, opened fire on a crowd of strikers gathered in the central square of the town of Ciénaga. Estimates of the number of casualties vary from 47 to 3000.