MIAMI (AP) — Chiquita Brands International wants a federal appeals court to block lawsuits filed in the U.S. by thousands of Colombians whose relatives were killed in that country's bloody civil war. The lawsuits seek billions in damages.
The produce giant is being sued because it paid almost $2 million to a right-wing Colombian paramilitary group over a seven-year period. That group killed civilians it suspected of being leftists.
Chiquita says it was being blackmailed by the paramilitary group and it had nothing to do with the killings.
Chiquita also cites a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that makes it harder for foreign nationals to sue in the U.S. over human rights abuses.
The Colombians' lawyers say Chiquita's payments show the company knew about and supported the killings.