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Should an international company operating in a violent nation pay a paramilitary group to keep its employees from harm? Executives at Chiquita Brands' Banadex subsidiary in Colombia faced a dilemma in 1997. Carlos Castano, the leader of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, a paramilitary group, was demanding payment in return for not harming Banadex's employees or operations. The executives must weigh the various options including, among others, making the payments or shutting down operations. This case examines the history of Chiquita (formerly the United Fruit Company) in Colombia (and other South American countries), its interaction with the country's political and social structure, and the difficulties of doing business in one of the world's most violent countries.
This case prompts students to (1) think through how values are relevant for managerial decisions and how they are applied in a given situation (2) consider some of the challenging problems that may arise in doing business abroad (3) wrestle with the balance of a range of competing considerations, including upholding a company’s reputation, protecting company employees, upholding justice, and respecting local laws and larger notions of fairness, as well as managing your reputation within the community (4) have students define and discuss the rights and responsibilities of large multinational corporations doing business in other countries, particularly those with a history of violence (5) identify stakeholders, and define the rights, responsibilities, obligations, values, and needs of each