Pablo Neruda

The United Fruit Co.

When the trumpet sounded, it was

all prepared on the earth,

and Jehovah parceled out the earth

to Coca-Cola, Inc., Anaconda,

Ford Motors, and other entities:

The Fruit Company, Inc.

reserved for itself the most succulent,

the central coast of my own land,

the delicate waist of America.

It rechristened its territories

as the “Banana Republics”

and over the sleeping dead,

over the restless heroes

who brought about the greatness,

the liberty and the flags,

it established the comic opera:

abolished the independencies,

presented crowns of Caesar,

unsheathed envy, attracted

the dictatorship of the flies,

Trujillo flies, Tacho flies,

Carias flies, Martinez flies,

Ubico flies, damp flies

of modest blood and marmalade,

drunken flies who zoom

over the ordinary graves,

circus flies, wise flies

well trained in tyranny.

Among the bloodthirsty flies

the Fruit Company lands its ships,

taking off the coffee and the fruit;

the treasure of our submerged

territories flows as though

on plates into the ships.

Meanwhile Indians are falling

into the sugared chasms

of the harbors, wrapped

for burial in the mist of the dawn:

a body rolls, a thing

that has no name, a fallen cipher,

a cluster of dead fruit

thrown down on the dump.

— translated from the Spanish by Robert Bly