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Residents of the republic: missing lands and fingers

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Albert, Leila
Leichtle, Kurt
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Albert, Leila. "Residents of the Republic: Missing Lands and Fingers." Endeavor 2.1 (2006): 1-10.
Feb 2006
Fruit trade--Central America; Labor--Central America; Central America--Economic conditions; United Fruit Company; Central American--Social conditions; Agricultural workers; Fruit market; Foreign fruit companies; Fruit companies; United Fruit Company and labor
This paper will demonstrate the damage that the practices of North American companies have caused the nations of Central America while conducting business abroad. Beginning in the 1870s international fruit companies exploited the local land and labor of Central America in their pursuits of wealth. The general attitude of the companies toward the people and governments of Central America was paternalistic. Foreign fruit companies acquired vast tracts of land throughout Central America and built relationships with community leaders to ensure local favor. Findings confirm that fruit companies received concessions from local and national governments. Foreigners owned or controlled nearly all fruit plantations and production in Central America. Rarely did laborers employed by the fruit companies enjoy the benefits of company profits. Research has determined that lower class residents and workers had no means of opposing the oppressive fruit companies. The profits of fruit companies served only to increase the wealth of foreign investors and local elites. Evidence indicates that foreign fruit companies created pristine enclaves for white US citizens working in Central American countries. These white workers held all the management jobs while local workers held only manual and unskilled positions. Studies reveal that investment in Central American countries by these international companies was only done if it proved beneficial to either the fruit company or the fruit market. As factors emerged which made the plantations less profitable, the companies abandoned them and the countries in which they were located. Natives were left with no more than missing lands and fingers.
10 p.
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