In 1928 when the US-based United Fruit Company – now known as Chiquita Brands International – faced labor issues in Colombia, it had at its disposal Colombian troops which gunned down hundreds of strikers to maintain production and profits.
Ensuring that Colombia protected “American interests” was the US State Department who hosted company representatives at the US embassy in Bogotá, which in turn was in contact with Washington.
The United Fruit Company’s actions in Colombia was far from an isolated incident. US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler would write a book regarding his personal, first-hand experience in fighting wars on multiple continents for oil companies, bankers, and fruit companies.
Nearly a century ago large corporate interests already possessed full control over the mechanisms of American governance, determining its domestic and foreign policy, and readily using the nation’s military might for their own personal gain across the globe.
The arrangement has not disappeared over time. It has simply evolved.
The US Chamber of Commerce and USAID
The US Chamber of Commerce on its own website admits it is a lobbying organization and while it claims it represents millions of businesses big and small – it is an organization dominated by, and existing solely for it largest members.
These include Chevron, Citi, Coco-Cola, Chevrolet, McDonald’s, Ford, Dow, Exxon, Honeywell, Proctor & Gamble, Visa, Yum, Monsanto, and many more.
And while there is nothing inherently wrong with a lobbying organization, or US companies doing business abroad, it is what this particular lobbying organization does with its immense, concentrated, and unwarranted influence.
Representing not only the largest corporations in the United States, but also some of the largest corporations on Earth, the US Chamber of Commerce today – just as United Fruit did nearly a century ago – has direct access to the levers of US governance.
The US State Department today – just as it did in Bogotá in 1928 – represents “American interests,” understood as being synonymous with corporate interests. It is through the US State Department that organizations like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) receive their funding and directives.
These organizations are either chaired by or partnered directly with representatives not from humanitarian aid or democracy promotion circles, but from the very corporations they truly serve merely under the guise of “development” and “democracy.”
USAID – for instance – openly boasts of its joint partnership with US Chamber of Commerce member and agricultural giant Monsanto. With US State Department resources and tax money, Monsanto has used the cloak of development aid to spread into developing nations around the world from Africa and Asia to South America.
NED – on the other hand – is directly chaired by representatives from some of Wall Street’s largest corporations including, Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Ford, Citigroup, and Visa. While many of NED’s grantees pose as left-liberal activists fighting against corrupt and abusive special interests in their respective nations, they are in fact enabling the most corrupt and abusive special interests on Earth to simply remove obstacles so that they can dominate the markets, resources, and peoples of any given targeted nation.
And together, openly – as discussed by USAID’s administrator at a recent US Chamber of Commerce Foundation conference – that is what USAID and NED and their many subsidiaries do.