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The Flor de Caña Boycott Group Extends its Protest

by : Giorgio Trucchi - L. Inf Nicaragua y más
Monday May 25, 2009 - 18:13
JPEG - 89.4 kb

Letters of Protest to Importers and Distributors around the World

One month ago a youth group launched a boycott against Flor de Caña, the famous Nicaraguan rum. The boycott is in solidarity with members of the Nicaraguan Association of Those Affected by Chronic Renal Insufficiency (Anairc). They have decided to extend their campaign by sending protest letters to Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua SA (CLNSA), which together with the Nicaragua Sugar Estates Ltd. (NSEL) and Ingenio San Antonio (ISA) belong to the powerful Pellas Group. The protest letter campaign is also aimed at all the companies that import and distribute Flor de Caña rum around the world.

More than 480 people –the number keeps constantly increasing- have joined in a Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?g...) to express their support for this cause. The idea is to keep the pressure, to force these companies to change their labor logic and agree to negotiate a reparations package for the former sugar cane workers and the widows of Anairc, affected by Chronic Renal Inefficiency (IRC). For the last two months, the members of Anairc have been camping out in the center of Managua to have their rights recognized.

Now, through the Alternative Mesoamerican Communications website (http://rcam.ws/leer.php/8809162), the Flor de Caña Boycott Group informs about this new initiative that seeks to strengthen their protest.

"In Nicaragua, a holding by the name Pellas Group has a sugar cane plantation called Ingenio San Antonio. This plantation produces the raw material for making Flor de Caña rum. The labor conditions and the use of pesticides in the plantation have sentenced to death more than 3,000 former workers, besides contaminating the water, lands and the air of the western part of the country.”

“This holding” –says the text that is becoming known through the Internet- “is Nicaragua´s most powerful, and it is very difficult to get them to change their corporate practices, above all because it fashions itself a responsible and pro-environment business, buying public opinion through corporate social responsibility programs. For this reason, we request people´s solidarity through denunciation and dissemination of the message” asserted the group of Nicaraguan youth.

For the members of the group, at this point it is important to get those companies that are importing and distributing Flor de Caña around the world, involved in the campaign. For that reason they have prepared letters translated into different languages, so that each person that wants to show his/her indignation to what is happening and let his/her protest be known, can send them to Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua SA, and to the importers and distributors of Flor de Caña rum in their respective countries.

Sample Letters

Letter to Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua SA (CLNSA) Send to: info@flordecana.com CC: marrowsmith@deussenglobal.com y boicotpellas@gmail.com

Directors of Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua SA

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of my decision to refrain from buying or consuming Flor de Caña Rum. This decision is based on the current situation of your company, regarding its involvement in a series of claims having to do with labor, human rights, and environmental issues. Among these:

1) Contamination of land and water of the western part of Nicaragua (Chichigalpa), where Ingenio San Antonio is located. This is due to the excessive use of toxic agricultural products in the region. 2) Air contamination, due to the irresponsible burning of the sugar cane fields as a common practice of planting and harvesting in the western part of Nicaragua (Chichigalpa), where Ingenio San Antonio is located. 3) Contamination of workers at Ingenio San Antonio through fumigation of toxic agricultural products. This, along with other questionable labor practices (i.e. such as an excessive number of hours working under the sun) has contributed to have them develop Chronic Renal Insufficiency (IRC), a disease which has already killed more than 3,000 people in that zone of Nicaragua. 4) The proscription of independent labor unions, allowing only those that are “company unions” sponsored by the businesses of the Pellas Group (Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua and Nicaragua Sugar Estates Ltd, propietor of Ingenio San Antonio).

I urge you to revise and change your environmentally hazardous practices regarding the use of chemicals and the burning of sugar cane fields (among others). I also urge you to welcome independent studies of water, land and air quality at Ingenio San Antonio and its vicinity. Lastly, I urge you to listen and answer the claims of the former workers organized through ANAIRC.

While these minimal conditions are not met, and clear evidence attesting to the opposite is not produced, I will continue to denounce, both nationally and internationally, the suspicions regarding your corporate practices.

Sincerely,

Name Country

Letter to importers and distributors

Distribution/importation in the United State Skyy Spirit LLC: skyyreception@skyy.com (Property of Gruppo Campari Company)

Directors of Skyy Spirit LLC,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of my total disagreement with your company´s importation and distribution of Nicaraguan rum Flor de Caña in [your country]. My position is based on the fact that the brand´s holding company -the Pellas Group –is involved in a series of claims having to do with labor, human rights, and environmental issues. Among these:

1) Contamination of land and water of the western part of Nicaragua (Chichigalpa), where Ingenio San Antonio is located. This is where the sugar cane with which the rum is produced, is grown and processed. The contamination is due to the excessive use of toxic agricultural products in the region. 2) Air contamination, due to the irresponsible burning of the sugar cane fields as a common practice of planting and harvesting in the western part of Nicaragua (Chichigalpa), where Ingenio San Antonio is located. 3) Contamination of workers at Ingenio San Antonio through fumigation of toxic agricultural products. This, along with other questionable labor practices (i.e. such as an excessive number of hours working under the sun) has contributed to have them develop Chronic Renal Insufficiency (IRC), a disease which has already killed more than 3,000 people in that zone of Nicaragua. 4) Violation of labor rights, through the formation of “company unions” paid by the Pellas Group (Compañía Licorera de Nicaragua and Nicaragua Sugar Estates Ltd, proprietor of Ingenio San Antonio).

For these reasons, I have decided not to consume this product until the Pellas Group is completely free of suspicion and has demonstrated a change in its corporate practices associated with the environment, as well as the life, human rights and labor rights of its workers, former workers, and the Nicaraguan people in general.

I hereby let my protest be known against the importation and distribution Flor de caña rum, in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua. I appeal to your sense of corporate responsibility to become informed about this product which is currently being boycotted in Nicaragua for these reasons, and which is being questioned by a group of former workers from Ingenio San Antonio who are patients of IRC,organized under ANAIRC. They are demanding a reparations package from the Pellas Group, and to this day have not yet received an answer.

If your company does not reconsider the importation and distribution of Flor de Caña rum, it will become an accomplice to the corporation that produces it.

Sincerely,

Name



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