bananas
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A jury in Florida on Monday found Chiquita Brands International, one of the world's largest banana companies, liable for making payments that funded a paramilitary group in Colombia.

A lawsuit, which was brought to the federal court in the Southern District of Florida, said the banana company should be held responsible for the murders of eight individuals by the paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). The group was designated a terrorist organization by the United States, and was known for its violence in the South American country. It was disbanded in 2006, according to CNN.

The jury in the civil case ordered Chiquita to pay the families a total of $38.3 million. The verdict comes after the company pleaded guilty in 2007 to making over 100 payments to the AUC that equaled more than $1.7 million, but a source told the Justice Department that the payments were made under the threat of violence.

"Chiquita knowingly provided substantial assistance to the AUC to a degree sufficient to create a foreseeable risk of harm to others," the jury determined. It also found that the company failed to "act as a reasonable businessperson would have acted under the circumstances."

Evidence presented to the Florida jury revealed the company allowed the AUC to use its ports to bring in automatic rifles and its banana boats to smuggle cocaine overseas, according to The Guardian. The case was brought by family members of the eight individuals who worked as banana workers, trade unionists, and activists, who were tortured and killed by the terrorist organization.

Chiquita, which is an American company, said it plans to appeal the ruling, and maintained that there was no legal basis for the civil case.

"The situation in Colombia was tragic for so many, including those directly affected by the violence there, and our thoughts remain with them and their families. However, that does not change our belief that there is no legal basis for these claims," the company told CNN. "While we are disappointed by the decision, we remain confident that our legal position will ultimately prevail."