"They just considered these payments part of the business of growing bananas. Chiquita had a policy of paying whoever it was they had to pay off and to this day still consider themselves the victims in all this," says Paul Wolf, the human rights lawyer representing many of the families. Mr Wolf says Chiquita's involvement with the AUC went beyond paying them to protect its plantations and included granting the group access to Chiquita facilities for the illegal shipment of thousands of weapons into the country. In a 2009 interview with Al Jazeera, the former commander of the AUC's "banana bloc" admitted murdering 70 union members in 1995 alone. "One of my tasks was to make people work and to avoid strikes against the bosses. There were so many murders already in the area, they wanted to bring the banana region under their control," said Ever Veloza.