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Macondo and the United Fruit Co.

An overview of the United Fruit Co. and Macondo's tumultuous history as it relates to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
by

Priscila Garcia

on 2 September 2011

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Transcript of Macondo and the United Fruit Co.

The Macondo Massacre and the United Fruit Company:
The Making of Banana Republics Cuando sonó la trompeta, estuvo
todo preparado en la tierra,
y Jehova repartió el mundo
a Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, y otras entidades:
la Compañía Frutera Inc.
se reservó lo más jugoso,
la costa central de mi tierra,
la dulce cintura de América.

Bautizó de nuevo sus tierras
como "Repúblicas Bananas,"
y sobre los muertos dormidos,
sobre los héroes inquietos
que conquistaron la grandeza,
la libertad y las banderas,
estableció la ópera bufa:
enajenó los albedríos
regaló coronas de César,
desenvainó la envidia, atrajo
la dictadora de las moscas,
moscas Trujillos, moscas Tachos,
moscas Carías, moscas Martínez,
moscas Ubico, moscas húmedas
de sangre humilde y mermelada,
moscas borrachas que zumban
sobre las tumbas populares,
moscas de circo, sabias moscas
entendidas en tiranía.

Entre las moscas sanguinarias
la Frutera desembarca,
arrasando el café y las frutas,
en sus barcos que deslizaron
como bandejas el tesoro
de nuestras tierras sumergidas.

Mientras tanto, por los abismos
azucarados de los puertos,
caían indios sepultados
en el vapor de la mañana:
un cuerpo rueda, una cosa
sin nombre, un número caído,
un racimo de fruta muerta
derramada en el pudridero. When the trumpet sounded
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waist of America.

It rebaptized these countries
Banana Republics,
and over the sleeping dead,
over the unquiet heroes
who won greatness,
liberty, and banners,
it established an opera buffa:
it abolished free will,
gave out imperial crowns,
encouraged envy, attracted
the dictatorship of flies:
Trujillo flies, Tachos flies
Carias flies, Martinez flies,
Ubico flies, flies sticky with
submissive blood and marmalade,
drunken flies that buzz over
the tombs of the people,
circus flies, wise flies
expert at tyranny.

With the bloodthirsty flies
came the Fruit Company,
amassed coffee and fruit
in ships which put to sea like
overloaded trays with the treasures
from our sunken lands.

Meanwhile the Indians fall
into the sugared depths of the
harbors and are buried in the
morning mists;
a corpse rolls, a thing without
name, a discarded number,
a bunch of rotten fruit
thrown on the garbage heap. “La United Fruit Co.” or “The United Fruit Co.” by Pablo Neruda "Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but...life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves." --Gabriel Garcia Marquez Macondo: The fictious town created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude and is based on Aracata, Colombia. Macondo is described as seemingly mythical and beautiful town that enjoys simple comforts. It also represents all of Latin America because the things that take place in Macondo can be traced to other locations. Marcelo Bucheli, "No multinational corporation operating in Latin America has attracted more attention and been more vilified than the United Fruit Company." What is the Macondo Massacre?
Based on a real even that took place in the Cienaga town of the Santa Marta region in Colombia on December 6, 1928.
The massacre was the climax of events that stemmed from worker protests demanding better working conditions and wages.
Official reports show that nine people were killed, but eyewitness accounts argue that thousands were killed.
Due to corporation and government oppression nothing was done to rectify the wrongs, instead the company continued profitting. Que Hacemos?
1. A surveyor enters town and begins to take measurements and careful notes of what he oberves. What do you do?
A. Nothing, you are too busy to pay attention to strangers
B. Ask him questions and find you what he wants in YOUR town
C. Gather your friends and neighbors to threaten him
D. Organize a group of people to keep EVERYONE informed Que Hacemos?
2. The government replaces your local government officials with foreigners? What do you do?
A. Ask your friends to terrorize them
B. Write to the government to ask about their decision
C. The government knows best, why do anything?
D. Become their friend, its best to join those in power. Que Hacemos?
3. Railroad track is placed along your land without your input or approval. What do you do?
A. During the night, sabotage the construction
B. Plan your next family vacation on the train
C. Demand a share in the profits
D. What tracks? You do not see anything unusual. Que Hacemos?
4. The United Fruit Company and the Railroad establish business and hire local workers. The workers must work seven days a week and receive low wages. What do you do?
A. Invite family from the mountain villages to work
B. Mind "your own business" you do not work for them
C. Encourage the workers to make a union and protest
D. Visit the boss and shoot him Que Hacemos?
5. On the day of the protest, the workers are at the plaza. What do you do?
A. Hide behind a tree to watch
B. What protest? You are at home.
C. Encourage everyone to stay put.
D. Run at the soldiers with your knife. Que hicieron? Add your scores and save them. Later, we will see who you resemble.
1. A=0 B=2 C=1 D=5
2. A=1 B=2 C=0 D=-1
3. A=3 B=0 C=4 D=-1
4. A=1 B=0 C=5 D=2
5. A=1 B=0 C=3 D=5 Quien Eres?*

-1 to 5: You are most like the Banana Company or the Government, take you're pick. (They are both just in Macondo while the money lasts.) You do not care about social responsibility at all. You view Capitalism as the best thing evented since the wheel, and you snatch any opportunity to make profits. Who cares if some people suffer as you reach your financial goals? Beware, however, the masses might not tolerate you for long.

6 to 9: You resemble most of the members of the Buendia family and their privileged friends--privileged because they seem to overcome all the obstacles set before them. You have some sense of social responsibility, but only when negative situations directly affect you. Most of the time, if you can tell yourself everything is going well, you believe it. You are afraid of change and look for ways to gain the most of the status quo, even if its only in your imagination. The modern world, however, will demand that you answer for your inaction, so become informed and act accordingly.

10 to 21: You fit right in with the workers, who are supported by Jose Arcadio Segundo Buendia. You have an acute sense of social responsibility and know that Capitalism must adapt to the needs of the worker and the community to survive. You do your part by advocating justice with your words and actions. You have come to realize that your voice matters and that one person can make a difference. When faced with history told from the perspective of those in power, you go the extra mile and do your own research to make informed decisions. Nevertheless, make sure not to reach extremes and avoid unnecessary violence. Also remember that the danger always exists for the oppressed to become oppressors.

*If you are not satisfied with your score, do not worry. There is still time to change. Remember what Gabriel Garcia Marquez said, "Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but...life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves." It is in your hands to rebirth yourself and become who you truly want. 1. What is Macondo? Banana Republics is the term given to many countries, especially in Latin America, whose income depends on the exportation of tropcial fruits--often bananas. Neruda refered to the region as the "delicate waist of America." As a result of land and worker exploitation, the countries are forced to produce virtually only one crop. The United Fruit Company was the largest exporter of tropical fruits, especially bananas. It continually merged and expanded until it controlled most of the commerce. It had the most influence in Guatemala. Today, it is commonly known as Chiquita Brands International. Currently, Chiquita Banana Brands International is facing lawsuits from families of military personnel killed during conflicts to protect plantations. The filings represent the families of over 1600 people. Total deaths attributed to the Chiquita Banana Brands International is over 4000, but it could be more. 7. What is the name of the United Fruit Company now? 6. Where did the United Fruit Company have the most influence? 5. How does the United Fruited Company respond to protests and criticism? 4. Why do the workers protest? 3. What is a Banana Republic? 2. What is the United Fruit Company?
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