Banana Republic: the ugly story behind New Zealand’s most popular fruit

Vincente Barrios has a gentle, open face that slips easily into a wide-mouthed smile. He lifts his shirt to show where the bullets hit.

“I got hit by a bullet right here, and straight out here.” He points: here, the scars where one entered and exited through his bicep, and there, a small circular burn mark where another pierced his stomach.

Barrios has worked on the plantations for almost 20 years, and has spent much of that time as a union leader, agitating for more secure contracts and higher wages. Currently he is paid around 300 pesos ($9 NZD) a day. He expects his children, when they grow up, will work among the bananas too, and wants better pay and job security for them.