United Fruit

By Phil Ochs

And the fruit boats ride on the waves,
And the crew will dream of returning
Back to the Florida waters,
For the work of unloading onto the trains.

And the ships will dance by the shore,
With fruit from Venezuela, Brazil and Costa Rica,
But the Fruit from the Island of Cuba
is carried no more.

And on the decks it will lay,
Picked by the hands of the peons
at the lowest possible wages,
While the profits are made by the strangers
from far away.

Now some will pick the fruit of the vine
While others will go to the mountain
And eat the fruit of the hillside
And learn the way of the rifle,
wait for the time.

Allianza dollars are spent
To raise the towering buildings
For the weary bones of the workers
So they will be strong in the morning
to go back again.

Oh the companies keep a sharp eye
And pay their respects to the army
To watch for the hot-blooded leaders
And be prepared for the junta to
crush them like flies.

So heavy the price that they pay
As daily the fruit it is stolen
Over the blue Carribean
But the lengthening shadow of Cuba
will hinder the way.

(Repeat 1st verse)


The verse that starts with ``Allianza dollars ...'' (#5) was used by The Clash in their song ``Up In Heaven (Not Only Here).'' This was on their album ``Sandanista''. Apparently, the CD version did not include the lyrics, and thus did not credit this verse to Phil. The LP, however does say ``© Phil Ochs'' at the end of the lyrics. Thanks to Andrew Willett for pointing this out.

For further information about United Fruit check out Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer's book Bitter Fruit. There is also a small web page about United Fruit

Last modified 5 Jul 98 by trent