Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Greatest St. Valentine's Day Excuse Ever Told

For any of you guys who forgot to get your sweetie some St. Valentine's Day chocolate, I'll offer you guys the greatest St. Valentine's Day excuse ever told:

The Organic Consumers Organization has attacked the use of both child labor and child slave labor in the Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producing nation. Most of the estimated 284,000 child laborers working on cocoa plantations in Western Africa are in the Ivory Coast.

Since the 2002 civil war in the Ivory Coast, a former French colony, a continued state of conflict between the hardline government and rebels has continued. Since this time, 4,000 French peacekeepers and 6,000 U.N. peacekeepers have been attempting to keep the peace between these factions who continue to war against one another and continue the production of cocoa, used in chocolate production to maintain the Ivory Coast economy. An arms embargo is attempting to prevent more arms flow to the area.

The major American companies that benefit from this child labor produced cocoa are chocolate producers such as Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill.

Besides the child slave labor questions that tarnish the reputation of chocolate, their are health concerns raised by The Organic Consumers Association about the safety of the type of pesticides that are used in the Ivory Coast. But chocolate is a huge American industry up to $4.6 billion in sales in 2005, up a full $39 million from the year before.

So tell your sweetie you didn't forget to get her chocolate on St. Valentine's Day. You were only acting in workers solidarity against child slave labor violations in the Ivory Coast. I can't guarantee this won't mean a tough night sleeping in the doghouse or on the sofa, but darn, it's sure worth a try!


At 12:56 PM, Blogger Jamison said...

That's a great one Paul!!

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Paul Hooson said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Mandrake. The feature was sort of morbidly funny besides shining light on a serious issue few in the Western world hear about.

Without oil in the Ivory Coast, but the commodity of cocoa, some serious events take place in Western Africa that AP and others seldom focus on.


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