Modern Colonialism: The Case of Costa Rica and the United Fruit Company

Micah X. Perez, Regis University

Newest, updated version of my finalized Honors Thesis.


This academic paper systematically investigates the intricate historical relationship between the United Fruit Company (UFC) and the socio-economic landscape of Costa Rica during the Liberal period from 1870 to 1940. By examining the direct relationship between the UFC's presence and the simultaneous growth of the tourism industry, coastal land development, and the consequential rise of the sex trade, this research elucidates the adverse impacts of foreign monopolies on the privatization of land. The study underscores the enduring repercussions of this phenomenon in contemporary Costa Rican society. Through historical analysis, this thesis argues that the UFC's actions in Costa Rica during the Liberal period took on a form of modern-day colonialism, impacting the socio-economic dynamics of the nation. By examining less-explored historical narratives, the paper seeks to acknowledge and address the often-neglected histories of exploited indigenous communities and Latin American countries under the influence of the United States. This academic endeavor not only illuminates the less visible aspects of the United States' involvement in Costa Rica but also the influence between the Global North’s corporate interests and local communities. Within the context of Central American history, the ethical considerations of the United States' influence on environmental and human health are key historical themes.