Former U.S. Hostages Sue Chiquita for Supporting Terrorists

Friday, April 09, 2010
Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves-Chiquita Lawsuit (photo: Daniel Moon, U.S. Army)

Three employees of defense contractor Northrop Grumman are suing Chiquita Brands International for supporting a terrorist group in Colombia that held them hostage for five years. Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes were conducting a civilian counternarcotics surveillance mission for their company in 2003 when their plane was shot down by FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) guerillas. Two other men accompanying them were immediately killed by FARC, which held Stansell, Gonsalves and Howes hostage for five years, until they were rescued in 2008.

The plaintiffs claim Chiquita gave the terrorists weapons and millions of dollars in “protection payments,” and in the process violated the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. The corporation previously settled out of court in a 2007 case to funding the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, a right-wing, anti-labor death squad, and other terrorist groups to protect its interests in the Latin American country, according to the plaintiffs of the current lawsuit. Chiquita is also being sued by the relatives of U.S. missionaries who were murdered by terrorists in 1996.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Hostages Say Chiquita Funded Death Squads (by Barbara Leonard, Courthouse News Service)
Keith Stansell et al v. Chiquita (U.S. District Court, Tampa Division, Florida) (pdf)


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