Tag Archives: war

Hershey in War, from Rations to Friendship

Headquartered in rural Pennsylvania, over 87% of Hershey’s total revenues are based in North America, despite corporate strategies promoting global market expansion. Of Hershey’s twelve production facilities, ten are in North America and only two are in Asia.[1] Despite production and consumption based in the United States, the Hershey name has made a significant impact internationally through its association with the American military. This relationship heightens the dichotomy between cacao as a source of sustenance and a luxurious treat. Cacao promotes athletics and war on the one hand, pleasure and enjoyment on the other. In the U.S., Hershey supplied ration bars for soldiers. Its classic candies have bridged cross-cultural divides from World War I through the Berlin Airlift, the swamps of Vietnam to the deserts of Iraq.

The first documented histories of chocolate reveal the origins of the bean’s association with both indulgence and nutrition. Civilizations in Latin and South America recognized that “Armies travel on their stomachs.” The Aztecs, for example, believed that chocolate provided energy to fighters, who consumed the beverage before battle. [2] This tradition extended to European society. Britain’s Cadbury proclaimed that its cocoa, “Makes men stronger,” while Hershey deemed its chocolate bar “A meal in itself.”[3] Enjoyment of chocolate thereby spread from royal circles to the masses while it maintained its association with energy and success.[4]

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Soldiers continued to rely on chocolate as portable, high-energy fuel. In the French and Indian War, Benjamin Franklin sent each colonial officer six pounds of chocolate. The Continental Congress set price controls on cocoa, and the Americans rejoiced after the British left behind pounds of chocolate at the Fort of Ticonderoga.[5] World War II marked the intersection between the commercialization of chocolate production and the mass mobilization of armies. Mars created M&M’s in 1932, after Forrest Mars saw Spanish troops eating chocolate beads encased in sugar (to prevent melting). Mars sold M&M’s exclusively to the US military during WWII until turning to the public market in 1948.[6]

While Mars approached the U.S. to begin their relationship, the state reached out to Hershey.[7] The Office of War Information popularized the “militarization of food” through posters, film shorts, radio broadcasts, and propaganda that the Allie would win from combining democratic institutions with productive capitalism.[8] The initial request for Hershey in 1937 was for a 4 ounce bar, high in energy, resistant to heat, and tasting “little better than a boiled potato.”[9] The resulting product was terribly dense, earned the moniker “Hitler’s Secret Weapon” for its effect on the digestive system, and found itself more often discarded than eaten. Hershey continues to revise the recipe, introducing new iterations from Korea to Vietnam.[10]

Sugar-filled, traditional version of American chocolate became tools of diplomacy across language, culture, and generational gaps, a narrative that Hershey helped build. World War I saw troops from opposing trenches across the western front held a temporary truce in December of 1914.[11] British soldiers shared Rowntree chocolate biscuits, sent to support soldiers from its headquarters in York. They broke the biscuits together and then they played friendly games of football, at least until the war resumed the next week.[12] During World War II, this process began at home. Hotel Hershey interned 300 Vichy diplomats in the United States from 1942 through late 1943, since C-suite officials of Hershey offered the Hotel to the State Department.[13] Diplomats and wealthy businessmen, including the Hershey family and even the Vichy diplomats, continued to frequent luxury French dining establishments to enjoy chocolate, despite rationing restraints.[14] Meanwhile, the general public was forced to remove sugar from large parts of their diet.[15] Thus, the elite continued to mix chocolate and business, while soldiers and the poor traded in traditional sweet treats for subpar alternatives.

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Chocolate from the United States began to foster goodwill among noncombatants soon thereafter. Operation Vittles earned international acclaim during the Berlin Airlift, when 1st Lt. Gail Halvorsen included a few pieces of candy for children in his drops. Soon, his fellow soldiers began to participate, chipping in Hershey treats from their rations. As the public grew aware of the effort, corporations began to donate massive shipments of candy. Ultimately Halvorsen dropped 12 tons of candy and gum for the children of West Berlin from his C-47.[16]

Memoirs of American soldiers exchanged dropping candy out of planes for personal contact with children through candy. David Todeschini arrived in Vietnam as a medical aid provider at age 19. In his first visit to an orphanage, he recalled how,

[The children] ran out to greet us, asking for candy bars, and to have their pictures taken. We had a box full of assorted candies, chocolate, and peanuts donated by the GIs on base, which we distributed immediately upon our arrival; the cache being depleted in less time than it took for the medics to unload their medicine and equipment from the jeeps.[17]

Though the friendship began with sugar and smiles, he argued that the children “sure took notice of us, and it certainly goes beyond the fact that they always begged us for chocolate and candy—you could see it in their eyes, and many of us could see ourselves in their faces.”[18] Steven Alexander expressed similar sentiments in his memoir. The soldiers dreaded receiving C-ration boxes with tropical Hershey chocolate bars, too hot ever to melt and inedible. He instead found joy through chocolate by giving children Hershey bars and then seeing their reactions. Alexander reflected, “I only wished I had a real chocolate Hershey bar from home so she could really enjoy the candy. But she seemed to be happy with what I gave her.”[19] His tropical bar ration may not have added to his happiness, but the classic Hershey treat let him give temporary good cheer to others.

However, these relationships sometimes soured. Todeschini recounted a horrific, heart-wrenching dilemma that faced some of his comrades. The Vietcong began using children as weapons, playing on the moral affinity of American soldiers for local children:

Here comes an innocent child running down a dirt path, barefoot, and carrying about five or 6 pounds of high explosives heading right for you. The child may be racing several others to get there first; to be the first to get a Hershey bar. You know that in 10 seconds, you, your comrades, and the children will die.[20]

Could any man bring himself to shoot? The Vietnam War left behind some valid, anti-American sentiment. However, many of the soldiers attempted to build relationships with local communities based on trust, companionship, and shared appreciation for Hershey. These efforts sometimes ended tragically, but they facilitated an image of generosity regarding American soldiers toward Vietnamese children.

Most recently, the U.S. Air Force has been engaged in dropping food, water, and medicine to people struggling in remote areas, separated from relief by fighting. Another single pilot began this wave, this time Master Sergeant Stephen Brown, who added a little candy to each drop before his peers joined him.[21] Of the 109 bundles of 10,545 gallons of water and 7,056 Halal Meals Ready to Eat, each contained Hershey bars, Starbursts, or other sweets. Brown reflected that they hoped to provide “something that will make a dire situation a little brighter, even if it’s just for a few moments.”[22] Though Hershey remains a distinctly American brand, its reputation has thus extended overseas through the military, from the trenches of France to the desserts of Iraq. Hershey chocolate’s role in military rations and in civilian contacts recalls a dichotomy that has existed since the earliest days of chocolate, between sustenance and pleasure. However, the reality that Hershey chocolate, in both cases, is provided by Americans to soldiers and to children, respectively, shows that it continues to reflect a legacy of luxury and elite access, even in this arena.

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[1] “The Hershey Company,” 10-K (Hershey, PA, December 31, 2015), https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/47111/000004711116000095/a2015_formx10-kq4.

[2] Sophie Coe and Michael Coe, The True History of Chocolate, 3rd ed. (London: Thames & Hudson, 2013), 73.

[3] Ibid., 239.

[4] Ibid., 234. The rise of financial systems in Protestant countries, with capital stores and technological framework, facilitated this democratization of chocolate. The estates of sugar plantations in outposts of empire reduced the price of sugar. And two inventions specifically improved taste and lowered price: Van Houten’s addition of alkaline (to reduce bitterness) and Fry’s creation of milk chocolate (to increase sweetness and lower price).

[5] Though these blocks did not have sugar added, their caffeine content energized soldiers just as they had the Aztecs. Rodney Synder, “History of Chocolate: Chocolate in the American Colonies,” Colonial Williamsburg, http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume9/jan11/featurearticle.

[6] Mars formed a partnership with Hershey’s, founded in 1898, to supply the milk chocolate for this confection until he could produce the filling internally. M&M’s remain a part of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) today. Laura Schumm, “The Wartime Origins of the M&M,” History.com, 2017, http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/the-wartime-origins-of-the-mm.

[7] Allison Carruth, “War Rations and the Food Politics of Late Modernism,” Modernism/Modernity 16, no. 4 (January 1, 2010): 767–95, doi:10.1353/mod.0.0139.

[8] Carruth, 770; U. S. Office of War Information, Food for Fighters, 1943, http://archive.org/details/FoodforF1943. This short film argued that “Food correctly used means fighting strength for our soldiers and better health for civilians,” discussing food plants, university laboratories, and quartermaster corporal studies. These promoted “good food in plenty of variety,” supplied on the front using repurposed assembly lines from candy companies.

[9] Stephanie Butler, “D-Day Rations: How Chocolate Helped Win the War,” History.com, http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/d-day-rations-how-chocolate-helped-win-the-war.

[10] For more information on the evolution of Hershey through military research, alongside other food developments, see Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat (New York, New York: Current, 2015). These chocolate bars have remained relatively unpalatable given the difficulty of replicating the melting temperature of good chocolate once eaten without turning into a puddle in desert heat.

[11] Iain Adams, “A Game for Christmas? The Argylls, Saxons and Football on the Western Front,” International Journal of the History of Sport 32, no. 11 (June 2015): 1395.

[12] Gemma Mullin, “New Exhibition Reveals How Chocolate Was Morale Booster for Soldiers,” Mail Online, July 22, 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2701170/How-chocolate-helped-win-WW1-New-exhibition-reveals-important-confectionary-morale-booster-troops-trenches.html.

[13] This hotel was the center of the resort town centered on the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania. The State Department did pay Hershey a $256,643 bill, and the Hotel reopened to the public the next year. Jackie Kruper, “A Sweet Prison Camp,” World War II 20, no. 2 (May 2005): 58–60.

[14] Carruth, 779.

[15] The poor, at this point, relied on inexpensive treats like chocolate for 30% of their daily calories, so the rationing significantly impaired their nutrition. Sidney W. Mintz, Sweetness and Power (New York: Penguin, 1985), 256.

[16] “Berlin Airlift: The Chocolate Pilot,” PBS, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/airlift/sfeature/candy.

[17] David Todeschini, Land of Childhood’s Fears – Faith, Friendship, and the Vietnam War (Lulu.com, 2005), 105.

[18] Ibid., 19.

[19] Steven Alexander, An American Soldier in Vietnam (Page Publishing, 2013), chpt. 9; 10.

[20] Todeschini, 258.

[21] Dorian de Wind, “The ‘Candy Bombers’ of Iraq,” Huffington Post, September 4, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dorian-de-wind/the-candy-bombers-of-iraq_b_5769316.html.

[22] “The ‘Almost’ Candy Bombers of Iraq,” U.S. Air Force, accessed March 16, 2017, http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/494965/the-almost-candy-bombers-of-iraq.aspx.

~~~

Works Cited

Alexander, Steven. An American Soldier in Vietnam. Page Publishing Inc, 2013.

Butler, Stephanie. “D-Day Rations: How Chocolate Helped Win the War – Hungry History.” HISTORY.com. Accessed March 15, 2017. http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/d-day-rations-how-chocolate-helped-win-the-war.

Carruth, Allison. “War Rations and the Food Politics of Late Modernism.” Modernism/Modernity 16, no. 4 (January 1, 2010): 767–95. doi:10.1353/mod.0.0139.

Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. 3rd ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2013.

Kruper, Jackie. “A Sweet Prison Camp.” World War II 20, no. 2 (May 2005): 58–60.

Mintz, Sidney W. Sweetness and Power. New York: Penguin, 1985.

Mullin, By Gemma. “New Exhibition Reveals How Chocolate Was Morale Booster for Soldiers.” Mail Online, July 22, 2014. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2701170/How-chocolate-helped-win-WW1-New-exhibition-reveals-important-confectionary-morale-booster-troops-trenches.html.

Salcedo, Anastacia Marx de. Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat. New York, New York: Current, 2015.

Schumm, Laura. “The Wartime Origins of the M&M – Hungry History.” HISTORY.com. Accessed March 16, 2017. http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/the-wartime-origins-of-the-mm.

Synder, Rodney. “History of Chocolate: Chocolate in the American Colonies.” Colonial Williamsburg. Accessed March 16, 2017. http://history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume9/jan11/featurearticle.cfm.

“The ‘Almost’ Candy Bombers of Iraq.” U.S. Air Force. Accessed March 16, 2017. http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/494965/the-almost-candy-bombers-of-iraq.aspx.

“The Berlin Airlift: The Chocolate Pilot.” PBS. Accessed March 15, 2017. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/airlift/sfeature/candy.html.

“The Hershey Company.” 10-K. Hershey, PA, December 31, 2015. https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/47111/000004711116000095/a2015_formx10-kq4.htm.

Todeschini, David. Land of Childhood’s Fears – Faith, Friendship, and the Vietnam War. Lulu.com, 2005.

S. Office of War Information. Food for Fighters, 1943. http://www.archive.org/details/FoodforF1943.

Wind, Dorian de. “The ‘Candy Bombers’ of Iraq.” Huffington Post, September 4, 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dorian-de-wind/the-candy-bombers-of-iraq_b_5769316.html.

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Chocolate Diplomacy : An Effective Tool for Political Military Peace

Over the years, chocolate has been adapted to suit various different roles. Starting from ancient Mayan rituals where chocolate signified religious and social values, to current global marketing efforts and political agendas, the use of chocolate as a tool has been shifting for centuries. However, chocolate has come to symbolize peace in twentieth century war zones and conflict contexts as diplomatic military gestures; efforts of which remain till this day.

One of the most prominent examples of chocolate diplomacy can be seen through the story of Operation Little Vittles, which was established in 1948 during the Berlin Airlift. The photo below is of Gail Halvorsen, or more popularly known as the Berlin Candy Bomber, the mastermind behind Little Vittles.

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Gail Halvorsen. Photo from: http://www.geo.de/geolino/mensch/6210-rtkl-rosinenbomber-interview-mit-pilot-gail-halvorsen

Operation Little Vittles started in Germany, when Halvorsen noticed a group of thirty children standing against barbed wire in Tempelhof, as he was filming on his day off. While talking about it on “Candy Bomber”, an episode by PBS, he remembers when he first encountered the children. He says: “these kids had no gum, no chocolate for months, not enough to eat, and I suddenly realized not one of thirty kids had put out their hand”.(Halvorsen, 2014) This then triggered him to say, “hey these kids would like some chocolate”.(Halvorsen, 2014) He then reached into his pocket and all he had were two sticks of double mint Wrigley’s gum. Expecting a brawl after sharing the gum with the children, Halvorsen was shocked when there was no fight. In fact, he recounts, as seen in the video, “the kids that didn’t get any gum, took that piece of paper and held it up to their nose, and smelled, and smelled. Smelled the piece of paper”.(Halvorsen, 2014) He stood there dumbfounded. That was the moment when he said to himself, “Boy! I gotta do something for these guys!”.(Halvorsen, 2014) Next day, Halvorsen went back and delivered bags of candy by attaching them to small parachutes, and dropping them from his C-47. Children gathered and watched from the airfield below as bags of candies floated towards them. And thus, began Operation Little Vittles, an initiative that was carried long after Halvorsen returned to the United States of America. The event marked the establishment of a unique diplomatic role of chocolate, one that could bring joy and peace in a war zone. It showed that the act of giving chocolate has the ability to go beyond war, enemies or allies.

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Airplane bombing candies. Photo from: https://www.tes.com/lessons/zTqT3cQP1at-Qg/candy-bombers

While Operation Little Vittles occurred during World War II, prior to, and after that, various other events have occurred in World War I as well as in recent times, that exemplified chocolate diplomacy. Operation Little Vittles showed efforts of humanitarian acts by the military for the civilians on enemy grounds, however, there have been instances where interactions within the military itself showed signs of peace through the language of chocolate.

During World War I, in 1914 on Christmas Day, the British and German Army stopped battle for a day on the Western Front, an event that came to be known as the Christmas Truce. The soldiers interacted and exchanged chocolates, gifts and even played football with each other in hopes that the war would not resume the next day. “As Lieutenant Johannes Niemann, a Saxon who served with the 133rd, recalled that on Christmas morning” (Dash, 2011), he grabbed his “binoculars and looking cautiously over the parapet saw the incredible sight of our soldiers exchanging cigarettes, schnapps and chocolate with the enemy”(Dash, 2011). 

Christmas Truce 1914, as seen by the Illustrated London News.
Christmas Truce Illustrated. Photo from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce#/media/File:Illustrated_London_News_-_Christmas_Truce_1914.jpg

Above is a painting, an artist’s depiction of the Christmas Truce. It was originally published in The Illustrated London News, in January 9, 1915. The illustration shows fraternizing efforts on no man’s land during the season of peace, hope and goodwill. During the Christmas Truce, the exchange of chocolate is seen as an agreement to peace. It goes beyond the act of kindness during war, to effectively becoming a symbol for halting the battle itself.

A similar act, in recent times, has been seen at the border of India and China in June, 2015. As outlined by an article from India Today, Chinese troops had stepped into Indian territory in the northern region of Arunachal Pradesh which led to some tension as minor scuffles unfolded. However, the Chinese officials then offered chocolates as a gesture of peace to the Indian People’s Liberation Army (PLA)  to settle the matter. (Sandhu, 2016) In this instance, chocolate was used in the military milieu as a settlement. Chocolate, then, once again became an active tool for political and military diplomacy to maintain peace in the region.

All three incidents, spanning over a hundred years, from World War I to June 2015, show the changing role of chocolate in political military contexts.  In the case of Operation Little Vittles, chocolate plays a more passive role as an act of peace and as an act of kindness, providing subtle political message showcasing the goodwill of the American Army during war. However, during both the other instances, chocolate takes on a more active role and acts as an effective tool to physically symbolize an agreement and a settlement that shows peace.

Work Cited

Coe, Sophie Dobzhansky, and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. Vol. 29. London: Thames and Hudson, 2007.

Dash, Mike. The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce. Smithsonian. December, 2011. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-story-of-the-wwi-christmas-truce-11972213/

Davies, Caroline. Children to mark WWI’s ‘Christmas Truce’ with plays and football. The Guardian. May, 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/09/children-mark-first-world-war-christmas-truce-plays-football

PBS. The Chocolate Pilot. PBS. 2007. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/airlift/sfeature/candy.html#top

Sandhu, Kamaljit Kaur. Chocolate diplomacy: PLA makes up with Indian Army after another trangression attempt. India Today. New Delhi. June, 2015. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-and-india-chocolate-diplomacy-pla-makes-up-after-another-trangression-attempt/1/692712.html

Shapiro, Howard-Yana. Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage. Wiley. 2009

The Candy Bomber. Perf. Gail Halvorsen. PBS. October, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmanS-4nc4Y

 

 

Cocoa and Chaos in Cote d’Ivoire

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Image 1: A shelter for internally displaced persons during the Ivorian  civil war (Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Introduction

Cocoa has been a major source of wealth as well as one of the major causes of chaos in Africa. The conflict over cocoa resources disrupted the larger political struggle; it created ethnic and socio-economic instability, which became the basis of civil war in countries like Cote d’Ivoire. In 1960, Cote d’Ivoire (or Ivory Coast) won its full independence from France and Félix Houphouët-Boigny became the first president of the independent country. The new Ivorian president welcomed immigrants and made Ivorian land freely available to those who wanted to grow coffee and cocoa. In this decision lies the secret of the economic growth of Cote d’Ivoire and the causes of its downfall.

This essay will argue that literature has tended to focus more on the trade and market issues related to cocoa instead of focusing on dynamics that are largely relevant to the local African context, such as violent political conflicts caused by cocoa farming. Cocoa producing countries in Africa have suffered several outbreaks of conflict, especially in Cote d’Ivoire between 2002 and 2011 which resulted in the death of 3,000 people [1], yet the role played by these countries in the global chocolate industry is little known. Furthermore, numerous organizations have been established to regulate the trade of cocoa and its distribution; yet nothing has been done to resolve or even advocate the political massacre caused by cocoa farming in African countries. This essay will provide a deep investigation into violent political conflict caused by cocoa farming in African countries by looking at the example of Cote d’Ivoire. Historical complexity and the current state of conflict will be examined. Finally, this essay will conclude with recommendations for contemporary cocoa industry and regulatory organizations on how to tackle such conflict. 

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Image 2: Culture du Manioc – Côte d’Ivoire (Public Domain)

History of Cocoa and Chaos in Cote d’Ivoire

It was late 19th century when Africa began producing cocoa on a significant scale. The first recorded large-scale production was in the 1880’s from Portuguese plantations on the islands of Sao Tome and Principe [2]. As noted by the 2004 Anti-Slavery report, these cocoa plantations run by French colonists became infamous for using slaves, despite slavery having been officially abolished in 1875. Between 1888 and 1908, over 67,000 people from the African mainland were shipped to Sao Tome and Principe islands.The low oil and rubber prices in Cote d’Ivoire encouraged people to cultivate cocoa and the proper cultivation began by 1890’s [3].

The history of cocoa and related violence goes back to 1900’s with French authorities “corrupting local chiefs, evicting communities from forests in the south and forcibly displacing tens of thousands of people, mainly from the north and from Burkina Faso to work on the cocoa plantations”[4]as claimed by the Global Witness report. The report also claims that small farmers protested against the higher cocoa prices paid to the French plantation owners. During this period of time, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, a cocoa farmer himself formed an agricultural union called Syndicat Agricole Africain (SAA) in 1944 and was elected as Côte d’Ivoire’s representative to the French parliament. After spending two years in French parliament, Boigny was able to secure a law in 1946 ending forced labor in Cote d’Ivoire . The ban on forced labor happened at the same time as the cocoa prices were high on the world market. This resulted in large portion of population moving to the  forested area of Cote d’Ivoire to cultivate cocoa. Due to his extreme popularity, Boigny was elected as first president of independent Cote d’Ivoire in 1960.

Under the administration of President Boigny, hundreds of thousands of immigrants came in search of land to cultivate cocoa. As Orla Ryan recalls in her book, Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa, some came from Boigny’s own ethnic group, the Baoule. A large portion of farmers came from Northern Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Mali. For years, the indigenous tribe, Bete, welcomed and worked alongside migrants and foreigners from Burkina Faso and Mali to cultivate cocoa. Many Ivorians moved to big cities to be part of the new urban economy. They sell or rented their lands to the foreigners who wanted to farm them and plant cocoa. With thousands of cocoa farmers, Cote d’Ivoire produced some 67 000 tons to 880 000 tons of cocoa from 1960 and 1989, which made it world’s largest producer of cocoa[5]. However, the economic growth of the country was also the beginning of the hostile  relationship between host and migrant populations.

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Map 1: Cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire by Global Witness Report

The country accounted for around 40% of world cocoa production and cocoa became the economic resource of the country, representing on average 35% of the total value of Ivorians exports, worth around $1.4 billion. [6] To make country open to foreigners, President Boigny issues a statement saying, “The land belongs to he who cultivates it”[7]. This led to the ownership of big portion of land by immigrant population. However, the world price of cocoa was falling which created an atmosphere where foreigners were not welcome in Cote d’Ivoire anymore.

Adding to the problem, in 1933, after 33 years in power, President Boigny died and as did his economic policies. A long government policy to welcome foreigners and to give land to those who want to cultivate cocoa was changed when Laurent Gbagbo, from Bete tribe, was elected as the president. Confronted with a crumbling economy, Gbagbo used his presidency to reinvigorate the Ivorian citizenship rights, attempting to build a campaign by arousing Ivorian patriotism and nationalism. The newly elected president declared that the land given to the settlers under President Boigny cannot be claimed by them and should be returned to the native Ivorian owners.

As Mitchell writes in his paper, Rethinking the Migration-Conflict Nexus: Insights from Côte d‟Ivoire and Ghanathis policy of Gbagbo was central to the conflict and was deeply embedded in the rise and fall of the country’s cocoa sector.Much of the cultivated land was allocated to the foreigners at the time, which made it almost impossible for them to leave their crops. These foreigners became the victims for the financial crisis encountered by the native Ivorians and came under extreme pressure to leave the country. In 1990, non- Ivorians lost their right to vote thus deprived of their right to claim any land.

The Chaos

In 1998, law was passed declaring that only people of Ivorians nationality could own rural land. The law posed several problems for the thousands of immigrants who had cultivated and owned the cocoa crops for generations. The land purchased under President Boigny was rather informal which was often affirmed through handshakes or poorly written documents. Now in legal terms, such informal agreements meant nothing. Riots took place between the foreigners and natives in the west of the country, where most of cocoa was cultivated. The operation to seize land from the foreigners was launched, fueling violent tension between the communities. For the next decade, Cote d’Ivoire was split into two parts: the rebels controlled the north, while the government controlled the south. Where once the fight was over gold and diamonds, cocoa became a weapon of war.

According to a report by United Nations Human Rights Watch, between 1,500 and 2,500 Liberians fought for the government of Côte d’Ivoire, while almost 1,000 were thought to have fought among the ranks of Ivorian rebels. [8] Human right abuses were committed by conflict over land ownership. By the end of 1999, about 15,000 Burkinabe and northern Ivorians left the country in a bloody conflict between migrants and native people.

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Image 3: Armed Ivorians next to a French Foreign Legion armored car, 2004 (Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0)

With the new nationalist concept, President Henri Konan Bédié, successor of Boigny, distinguished between “foreigners” and “true Ivorian”. The concept was incorporated into the new electoral code in 1994, which stated that candidates of the Presidency and for Deputy in the National Assembly must be Ivorians by birth, with Ivorian parentage, having neither renounced Ivorian citizenship nor taken the nationality of any other state. [9] This law was seen as a deliberate effort to prevent Bédié’s rival, Alassane Ouattara, from the presidential elections. Ouattara was Muslim and had Burkinabe origins.In excluding Ouattara from presidential elections, the northerners perceived this as a systematic discrimination. As a result of this, nearly two million Burkinabe (most of them cocoa producers) found themselves subjugated.

Economic stagnation caused by the falling prices of cocoa resulted in a coup in 1999 led by General Robert Guei who ousted President Bédié. When the presidential elections took place in 2010, after years of postponement, the country’s second civil war broke out, claiming the lives of more than 3,000 people.

Role of Cocoa

Cocoa accounts for a significant proportion of the Cote d’Ivoire government’s budget as well as the conflict. The Ivorian economy and especially the trade of cocoa lack transparency and accountability and involves significant amount of corruption. An estimated 10% of Ivorian cocoa production is now under the control of the rebels. These rebels charge indirect tax on the cocoa trade. The conflict in Cote d’Ivoire caused a sharp increase in the price of world cocoa. For example, in October 2002, after the coup attempt, the price of cocoa reached its highest level since the 1970’s and 1980’s at $2,367 per ton. [10]

According to a 2007 report by Global Witness and World Bank, some leading national cocoa institutions have contributed to the war by providing the government with “money, vehicle and weapons”[11]. As noted by the report, these contributions were made at the same time as the government forces were conducting worst human rights violations. Furthermore, government and rebel leaders in Cote d’Ivoire siphoned off millions of dollars from the cocoa industry to finance the 2002-03 civil war. According to the report, the Ivoirians government received more than $58 million from institutions and cocoa revenues, while the rebel forces pocketed about $30 million since 2004 in taxes and revenues[12]. The profits generated from the cocoa sector remain potential weapon for the conflict and little has been done to break the link between cocoa institutions and armed groups.

1024px-Flickr_-_DFID_-_UK_Department_for_International_Development_-_Displaced_Ivorians_queue_for_food_at_a_UNHCR_distribution_site_in_Liberia.jpg

Image 4: Displaced Ivorians queue for food at a UNHCR distribution site in Liberia (Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0)

Recommendations 

Following are few recommendations for cocoa industry and regulatory organizations such as United Nations:

Companies buying cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire should perform extra considerations on their purchase to demonstrate that they are not providing money that is being used in the war effort, which results in human rights violations. These companies should make their purchase more transparent by publishing the information on how the cocoa was imported from such countries. Especially, if the cocoa was purchased from the areas controlled by government or rebels, how much direct and indirect taxes were paid. These cocoa-buying institutions should also publish information on the locations of their bank accounts (as most of them have off-shore companies) and should publish annual audit reports.

Organizations such as United Nations should be more serious about this conflict. United Nations should apply sanctions on individuals responsible for sending money to promote this conflict. United Nations should hold more Peacekeeping missions in countries such as Cote d’Ivoire . An oversight of the natural resources under United Nations should also be established.

Conclusion

Cote d’Ivoire gained its independence from France in 1960 under the leadership of President Boigny. During his administration, Boigny welcomed immigrants and made Ivoirians land freely available to those who wanted to grow coffee and cocoa. Cote d’Ivoire witnessed a boom in its economy and became world’s largest cocoa producer. The production of cocoa relied on the immigrants who mostly came from Burkina Faso and Mali. To ensure labor rights, President Boigny extended their right to live and gave a decree ensuring ownership of the land they cultivated. As the cocoa prices fell around 1980s, the government replaced taxation with subsidies for the immigrants. The foreigners faced hostility from the natives. Between 2002 and 2011, Cote d’Ivoire suffered several conflicts mostly between the government and the cocoa farmers in the north. This led to the bitterly contested election in 2010, whose outcome led to the Second Ivorian Civil War. Around 3,000 people were killed, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Numerous organizations have been established to regulate the trade of cocoa and its distribution; yet nothing has been done to resolve or even advocate the political massacre caused by cocoa farming in African countries. For the past decade, both sides in the conflict-government and rebels-have benefitted from significant corruption through cocoa trade. Companies buying cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire and such other countries should ensure that the money from cocoa trade is not fueling the conflict.

Works Cited

Primary Sources: 

Ryan, Orla. Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa. London: Zed, 2011. Print.
How Cocoa Fueled the Conflict in Côte D’Ivoire (n.d.): n. pag. Global Witness, June 2007. Web. 11 May 2016. <https://www.globalwitness.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/cotedivoire.pdf&gt;.
“The Chocolate Industry.” Cocoa And Chocolate, 1765–1914 (n.d.): 65-92.The Cocoa Industry in West Africa. Anti-Slavery International. Web. 11 May 2016. <http://www.antislavery.org/includes/documents/cm_docs/2008/c/cocoa_report_2004.pdf&gt;.

 

Mitchell, Matthew I. Rethinking the Migration-Conflict Nexus: Insights from Côte D‟Ivoire and Ghana (n.d.): n. pag. Department of Political Studies Queen‟s University, 1 June 2010. Web. 11 May 2016. <https://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2010/Mitchell.pdf&gt;.

Other Sources: 

[1] “World Report 2012: Côte D’Ivoire.” Human Rights Watch. World Report, 22 Jan. 2012. Web. 11 May 2016. <https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2012/country-chapters/cote-divoire&gt;.

[2] Clarence-Smith, W.G. & Ruf, F., “Cocoa pioneer fronts: The historical determinants”, Clarence-Smith, W.G. (ed.), Cocoa Pioneer Fronts Since 1800, the role of smallholders, planters and merchants, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1996

[3] “The Chocolate Industry.” Cocoa And Chocolate, 1765–1914 (n.d.): 65-92.The Cocoa Industry in West Africa. Anti-Slavery International. Web. 11 May 2016. <http://www.antislavery.org/includes/documents/cm_docs/2008/c/cocoa_report_2004.pdf&gt;.

[4] How Cocoa Fuelled the Conflict in Côte D’Ivoire (n.d.): n. pag. Global Witness, June 2007. Web. 11 May 2016. <https://www.globalwitness.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/cotedivoire.pdf&gt;.
[5] Crook, Richard. 1997. “Winning Coalitions and Ethno-Regional Politics: The Failure of the Opposition in the 1990 and 1995 Elections in Côte d‟Ivoire.” African Affairs, 96, 215-42.
[6] Ibid

[7] Crise Foncière, crise de la ruralité et relations entre autochtones et migrants sahéliens en Côte d’Ivoire forestière, Jean-Pierre Chauveau, May 2003

 

[8]Government-allied Liberians…requested …children for training”, in Trapped between two wars: violence against civilians in western Côte d’Ivoire, Human Rights Watch, August 2003

 

[9] Crook, Richard C. 2001. “Cocoa Booms, the Legalisation of Land Relations and Politics in Côte d‟Ivoire and Ghana: Explaining Farmers Responses.” IDS Bulletin, 32(1), 35-45.

[10] How Cocoa Fuelled the Conflict in Côte D’Ivoire (n.d.): n. pag. Global Witness, June 2007. Web. 11 May 2016. <https://www.globalwitness.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/cotedivoire.pdf&gt;.

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

Lamber, Blake. “Chocolate Now Fuels War in West Africa?” ProQuest. The Christian Science Monitor, 17 July 2007. Web. 11 May 2016. <http://search.proquest.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/docview/405552634?rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo&gt;.
WallisC, William. “CorpWatch : IVORY COAST: Cocoa Exports ‘fund’ Ivory Coast Conflict.” CorpWatch : IVORY COAST: Cocoa Exports ‘fund’ Ivory Coast Conflict. CorpWatch, n.d. Web. 11 May 2016. <http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14514&gt;.
Hailey, Paul. “From Côte D’Ivoire to Chocolate Bar – the Difficult Road for Sustainable Cocoa.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 May 2016. <http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/fairtrade-partner-zone/cotedvoire-chocolate-difficult-road-sustainable-cocoa&gt;.

Images:

Image: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory_Coast#/media/File:Internally_Displaced_Persons_Duekoue_2011_Cote_dIvoire.jpg

Image 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/socodevi/6837240434

Image 3: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory_Coast#/media/File:059_French_Foreign_Legion.JPG

Image 4: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Ivorian_Civil_War#/media/File:Flickr_-_DFID_-_UK_Department_for_International_Development_-_Displaced_Ivorians_queue_for_food_at_a_UNHCR_distribution_site_in_Liberia.jpg

 

Cacao and War in the Aztec Empire

Today, chocolate is associated with many things – love, comfort, sin – but not with war. In Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, however, and especially in the Aztec world, the two shared an important connection. Cacao was a commodity worth going to war over; the empire targeted major cacao-producing regions for conquest, and then demanded the seeds as tribute. Aztec armies carried cacao as part of their rations, and a class of warrior-merchants, the pochteca, made their livings transporting the valuable beans across often-dangerous terrain. At several levels, then, from production up to consumption, cacao’s place in Aztec culture was tied to battle.

For the Aztecs, cacao drinks were a privilege of the elite. Common people used the beans as currency, but in the “stratified, aristocratic society” of the empire, organized under hierarchical sumptuary laws, few outside of the nobles were allowed to drink cacao (Coe and Coe Ch.3, “Eve of Conquest”).

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The Xonconocho (later changed to Soconusco by the Spanish) region, source of the Aztec’s fine cacao, is shaded black in the map above

Those who did consume the beverage understood that different regions produced varying qualities of cacao, and valued the seeds accordingly. The cacao grown in Xonconocho (seen left), part of the modern-day Chiapas State, was especially desirable, and as such was “a spur to conquest” for the Aztecs (Presilla 17). Before the arrival of the conquistadors, a campaign was launched to conquer Xonconocho, and the region soon became one of the empire’s major cacao-producing areas. Surviving records like the 16th century Códice Mendoza (shown below) make special note of the 400 loads – with 24,000 beans per load – sent to Tenochtitlan every year as tribute (Presilla 16).

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In this tribute list from the Codice Mendoza, loads of cacao beans are listed among other exotic goods like jaguar skins and feathers, showing the prized place of cacao in Aztec society

The pochtecha, designated long-distance merchants, were the ones to carry these tributary loads of cacao, as well as loads traded for outside of the empire, to the capital. Beyond Xonconocho, these merchants were responsible for transporting “exotic goods,” including cacao, to Tenochtitlan from “distant ‘ports of trade’” like Xicallanco in the Tabasco region (Coe and Coe Ch.3, “Flavorings”). Their dangerous expeditions could span hundreds of miles, all while carrying cargo precious enough to need protection. Upon completion, merchants often threw lavish banquets with spreads including their prized wares of cacao and hueinacaztli, or “ear flower” (Coe and Coe Ch. 3, “Drink of the Elite”). The pochtecha were permitted to imbibe cacao, despite not being nobles, perhaps because their job was so perilous. As Coe and Coe point out, these traders “were often armed,” and they “travelled through very dangerous lands to reach their markets, and often fought pitched battles with hostile foreign groups” (Ch.3, “Drink of the Elite”). In a sense, then, they were warriors.

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Taken from the Codex Fejérváry-Mayer, the above image depicts a pochteca merchant carrying a load of some exotic product, possibly cacao beans. He would have had to traverse dangerous territory with this valuable good

 

theobromine
The molecule theobromine has stimulant effects that would have been helpful on the battlefield

Aztec warriors were the final group allowed to drink cacao. On campaigns, armies were rationed ground cacao that could be added to water (Presilla 19). Warriors may have held a special place in a society so focused on expansion and military prowess, but they did not belong to the nobility. A brave fighter might earn some of the honors afforded to the upper class, but why give cacao to all members of the army? The practice suggests a knowledge of cacao’s stimulant properties. Cacao contains theobromine – withapproximately 25 grams per kilogram of cacao seeds – a compound similar in structure and effect to caffeine (“Theobromine”). The Aztecs would not have known this molecule, but over time they and the Maya before them observed the impact it had on consumers. The extra energy afforded by cacao likely sustained armies on the march and gave warriors a slight edge in battle. Furthermore, the Aztec priests’ other name for cacao, “heart and blood,” suggests an even deeper connection. Coe and Coe note that when a new Eagle or Jaguar Knight – honored as the bravest of warriors – was named, cacao was served at the ceremony, being a symbol for blood (Ch.3, “Cacao in Symbol and Ritual”). Warriors in the field might have been thought to gain from drinking this metaphorical “heart and blood.”

 

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Aztec warriors often carried a macuahuitl, shown above, into battle. The war club’s edges were lined with obsidian shards, making it a formidable weapon, especially when combined with cacao’s stimulant effects

Aztec culture weaved together the ideas of cacao and battle. The seeds were valuable enough to motivate conquests, and there existed a whole class of society dedicated to safely transporting cacao from one place to another. Perhaps the most salient example of this connection, however, lay with the warriors. In an empire where only the nobles were permitted cacao beverages, armies were given rations of cacao to take to war. This apparent exception to the traditional sumptuary laws demonstrates the depth of the ties between cacao and war for the Aztecs.

Sources:

Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. 3rd ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2013. E-book.

Presilla, Maricel E. The New Taste of Chocolate Revised: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes. Berkeley: Ten Speed, 2009. Print.

“Theobromine.” Phytochemicals. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <http://www.phytochemicals.info/phytochemicals/theobromine.php&gt;.

Multimedia Sources:

Macuahuitl Image: “Mexica Weaponry.” Mexicolore. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/home/mexica-weaponry&gt;.

Pochteca Image: “Mice: Aztec Spies!” Mexicolore. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/aztefacts/mice-aztec-spies&gt;.

Theobromine Image: “Learn About Theobromine, the Caffeine-Like Chemical in Chocolate.” About.com Education. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <http://chemistry.about.com/od/factsstructures/a/theobromine-chemistry.htm&gt;.

Tribute List: “CHOCOLATE.” Food of the Gods. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://exhibits.mannlib.cornell.edu/chocolate/moneygrewontrees.php&gt;.

Xonconocho Map: “Agricultura De Exportación, Migración Y Remesas.” Eumed.net. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <http://www.eumed.net/cursecon/ecolat/mx/2007/spp.htm&gt;.