Amid a global banana crisis, Puerto Rico’s rich biodiversity offers a taste of hope

But, like any food that grows in the Global South and becomes a popular commodity in the Global North, bananas have a pretty dirty history. Scientists and other researchers agree that they originated in South Asia and made their way west to finally land in 1516 from the Canary Islands in the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean, which includes Puerto Rico. It was not until the late 19th century that they became an everyday commodity for consumers in the United States and Europe, at the behest of crude US firms buying up land in Central America and the Caribbean, where workers were low paid and the fruit companies were theirs Using power to influence local governments (which would be pejoratively referred to as “banana republics”). Colombian workers from the United Fruit Company, now Chiquita, went on strike in 1928 and were gunned down by the Colombian army at the behest of US business interests in the region.

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