Banana Plantation Worker Rebellion, 1928
Andrés Otálvaro H.
1000 - 1999
agriculture, labor, rebellion, revolution, strikes
In November 1928 a strike broke out in the banana plantation region of Magdalena, Colombia, as almost 30,000 workers and peasants called for better labor and living conditions. The United Fruit Company (UFC) exercised a powerful monopoly over the department of Magdalena, controlling production and commercialization. In support of the UFC the Colombian armed forces perpetrated a massacre in the town of Ciénaga on December 6 in order to repress the rebellion. Around 1,000 workers were killed. The repression followed the ironically named Heroic Law approved by the government of Miguel Abadía Méndez on October 30, 1928. This law prohibited the right to strike, any action which could incite class struggle, and attacks on private property. The fact was that a profound fear was spreading across different sectors of society and foreign commercial interests: it derived from an international communist “threat,” its recent practical success in the USSR, and domestic socialist expressions. Thus, claims for better labor rights and standards of living were seen as dangerous revolutionary forces led by violent rioters against the public and the economic order. The strike which broke out on November 12, 1928 was stigmatized as a rebellion against the state, manipulated by the interests of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), which had been founded in Bogotá in 1926. Actually, some leaders of ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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