A woman stands on a street corner in Oruro, a Bolivian mining town in the Andes Mountains
In a symbolic rejection of US capitalism, Bolivia announced it will expel the Coca-Cola Company from the country at the end of the Mayan calendar. This will mark the end of capitalism and usher in a new era of equality, the Bolivian govt says.
“December 21 of 2012 will be the end of egoism and division. December 21 should be the end of Coca-Cola,”Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca decreed, with bombast worthy of a viral marketing campaign.
The coming ‘end’ of the Mayan lunar calendar on December 21 of this year has sparked widespread doomsaying of an impending apocalypse. But Choquehuanca argued differently, claiming it will be the end of days for capitalism, not the planet.
“The planets will align for the first time in 26,000 years and this is the end of capitalism and the beginning of communitarianism,” said Choquehuanca as quoted by Venezuelan newspaper El Periodiquito.
The minister encouraged the people of Bolivia to drink Mocochinche, a peach-flavored soft drink, as an alternative to Coca-Cola. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez followed suit, encouraging his country to ditch the American beverage for fruit juice produced in Venezuela.
Last year, Bolivia became the second Latin American country not to have a single McDonald’s. The fast food giant finally gave up on Bolivia after being unable to turn a profit in the country for over a decade.
Following this failure, the monolithic multinational released a documentary titled ‘Why McDonald’s failed in Bolivia.’Referencing surveys, sociologists, nutritionists and historians, the company came to the conclusion it was not their food that was the issue, but a culturally driven boycott.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has a reputation for controversial policies similar to the Coca-Cola ban. Morales pledged last month to legalize the consumption of coca leaves, one of the main ingredients of cocaine.
“Neither the US nor capitalist countries have a good reason to maintain the ban on coca leaf consumption,” said Morales.
The coca leaf was declared an illegal narcotic by the UN in 1961, along with cocaine, opium and morphine. The consumption of coca leaves is a centuries-old tradition in Bolivia, strongly rooted in the beliefs of various indigenous groups.