Sunday, September 3, 2017

1962 postcard: "You should take a trip with United Fruit"

Labor Day Weekend Postcard Blogathon #12

This worn postcard, mailed in 1962 and probably relegated to a drawer for many decades thereafter, brings us a splash of color and culture for this Sunday evening.

The caption of the back of this Mirro-Krome Card is printed in both Spanish and English. The English version states:
The "Montuna" and "Montuno," typical and traditional dresses of PANAMA, worn mostly on typical national festivities and during "Carnival."
The nature and specifics of Carnival vary by country. Here is the Wikipedia summary of Carnival in Panama: "Traditionally beginning on Friday and ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, los Carnavales, as Panamanians refer to the days of Carnival, are celebrated across the country. Carnival Week is especially popular because of the opulent Las Tablas Carnival as well as the Carnival celebrations in Panama City and almost all of the Azuero Peninsula."

Meanwhile, the short message on this postcard, which was mailed to New Jersey, states: "You should take a trip with United Fruit. Wonderful! With love, Polly."

The United Fruit Company, which was transformed into Chiquita Brands International in the 1980s, had a huge impact on the 20th century development of multiple countries in Latin America and was deeply intertwined with the political and economic structures that we negatively refer to as banana republics. So, while it's nice that United Fruit offered "wonderful" vacations to Americans, its hard to look past the reality of United Fruit as a corporate colonialist that built its decades-long empire on the backs of cheap labor and a monopoly on the banana market.

Before I get even more worked up about this, here are the Panamanian stamps that were affixed to this postcard for its journey to America in May 1962.

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