Western Corporations and Colombian Labor: Cycles of Transhistorical Colonial and Economic Oppression in Colombia
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Aseel Sawalha, Ph.D.
Caley Johnson, Ph.D.
The relationship between colonial and colonized nations is entrenched in modern politics and history; remaining a transhistorical site of economic, social, and political imbalance. The United States and Colombia have a trans-colonial relationship that is shadowed by colonial gains at the expense of colonized livelihood. Western corporations mimic the patterns of the governments that preside over them, using the land and labor of the colonized “Other” to maximize profit. I investigate postcolonial Colombia through the lens of the transhistorical United Fruit Company and the mass corporation Coca-Cola. The accountability of these corporations and the systems that have allowed them to maintain power remain uncontended, which I believe must change in order to end cycles of subjugation. American corporations and the United States government have held Colombia in a chokehold since the origin of colonialism, creating a disillusioned economy that finds itself catering to the United States at the expense of Colombian bodies. The United Fruit Company and Coca-Cola serve as case studies that prove that labor exploitation emerges as a result of the cycle of oppression that began with imperial naval expeditions in Spain. Colombian laborers are made disposable by the transhistorical functions of colonialism that refuse to humanize the non-western Other. I call attention to the importance of breaking cycles of repression that began with invasion and settlement. Until the companies and systems that created these uneven power structures acknowledge their responsibility, colonization will be allowed to self-disguise in the name of capitalism and human hierarchy.
Lazzarino-Buendia, Isabella, "Western Corporations and Colombian Labor: Cycles of Transhistorical Colonial and Economic Oppression in Colombia" (2023). Senior Theses. 103.