My HeyDay

Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful


The United Fruit Co.

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote this poem inspired by the "cute" influence of the big banana-producers in Central America. Honduras, in particular, served to coin the term "Banana Republic" in that period, when Chiquita and Dole fighted to control the mainland and provide us with those $0.50/lb bananas you find in the supermarket.


The United Fruit Co.
Pablo Neruda
(Original en español)

Then the trumpets bray, and all
of earth braces itself
and Jehovah deals out the land
to Coca Cola Inc., Anaconda,
to Ford Motors and other corporations:
and The Fruit Company, Inc.
takes the ripest for itself,
my land's central coast,
my sweet hips of America.
Then it baptizes it again as
a "Banana Republic" country
and upon our slumbering dead,
upon our straggling martyrs
who have usurped heroism,
liberty and flags,
it colonizes us into a comic opera:
it outlaws free wills,
gives Caesar's crowns as bounty,
unleashes jealousy, plants
the dictatorship of the maggot,
maggot of Trujillo, maggot of Tachos,
maggot of Carias, maggot
of Martinez, maggot of Ubico,
and these maggots are soggy
with humble blood and marmalade,
these drunken maggots crawl
around our common graves,
these circus maggots, these academic
maggots, adept as any tyrant.

The Company disembarks
among the blood-thirsty maggots,
our coffee and treasured fruits fill
the brims of their sliding boats
from our submerged fields like tea trays.

Meanwhile, along the sugared
gulfs of our harbors,
indians fall over, buried
under the morning mists:
a little carrion rolls about, a thing
without a name, a shrunken number,
a clot of dead fruit, spilling
onto the pile of all this rot.

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7 Responses to “The United Fruit Co. ”

  1. # Blogger Bad~Zen

    Yes. Excellent choice.  

  2. # Blogger Katia Shtefan

    I think this poem is especially relevant during the current financial crisis. Neruda may have been very far to the left, but no one, regardless of political affiliation, can deny the socioeconomic problems that he displays in his poetry.

    If you really like Neruda, check out Red Poppy at www.redpoppy.net/pablo_neruda.php. It's a non-profit set up to create a documentary about Neruda, publish his biography, and translate his works into English. To see our blog on Neruda’s literary activism, go to http://www.redpoppy.net/journal/Pablo_Neruda_Presente.html.  

  3. # Blogger Alex Guerrero

    Thank you a lot, Katia. I'll give a look to the link. Thanks for the reference!

    I agree with you, most of Neruda's criticisms are just self-evident. No one can deny the reality behind them.  

  4. # Blogger ninest123
  5. # Blogger ninest123
  6. # Blogger ninest123
  7. # Blogger 柯云
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