Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Who is To Blame For the Banana Massacre?

I think it is so crazy how the government actually played the banana massacre off as a rumor. It's really hard to believe that over 2,000 lives can be taken without people even properly acknowledging it. Obviously the government is to blame for the massacre--they senselessly murdered people. However, as we were talking about today in class, there is the question of whether or not Latin Americans are slightly to blame? Personally, I don't think they could have prevented the massacre. The massacre was more of an impulse decision made by the government rather than a thought out solution. But, I do think that Latin Americans could have prevented many events leading up to this incident. For example, the political division within the region (Conservatives and Liberals) sent a lot of mixed signals within Latin America and also to foreign nations. The United Fruit Company was really able to utilize land in Latin America because of the 26 year rule that the Conservatives held when they came in, as we said today. However, when the Liberals unexpectedly regained control, strikes occurred without warning. As a result, the Latin Americans really threw the United Fruit Company for a loop when they changed their attitudes so quickly. The Latin Americans really never made up their minds as to what they wanted, which left a lot of the decision making to foreign powers.


Abbey said...

I wouldn't blame the Latin Americans for the Banana Massacre and would agree that it is entirely the government's fault. Quoting directly from Mrs. Quinet's e-mail attachment on the Banana Massacre, "workers on banana plantations strike for: written contracts, six-day weeks, eight-hour days, and elimination of pay via food coupons that had to be redeemed at United Fruit Company stores." The workers were only striking for basic rights that were all very reasonable. Working in the Latin American heat was not an easy thing to do and they only wanted some kind of reward. Also in the notes, "the United Fruit Company is "punishing" planters who joined anti-United Fruit activist groups by withholding loans." Deliberately withholding these loans before the strikes started would have only fueled the workers' rage and upset. Had the United Fruit Company not been so oppressive, the massacre might not have been as bloody as it was.

Anonymous said...

While I do agree that the Banana Massacre was not Macondo's fault, I think that the people of Macondo should have put up more resistance when the banana company originally came in and took over. If they would have declared their superiority over the town originally, or even just set boundaries for the banana company, they wouldn't have gotten to the point of protest.

-madison cummings

Jack Zheng said...

I agree with Abbey. We shouldn't label all of the people just one group of "Latin Americans," since everyone's interests differed greatly and there were many violent conflicts within the group. The banana workers, however, were simply caught in an unfortunate time and place and had barely any control over the country or even their own communities. The government complied to the United Fruit Company, who then exploited the workers as much as it was able to.