“ By 1927 [Coke] was being sold in Honduras, Columbia, and Mexico, along with Haiti and Burma. The next year it debuted in Venezuela, and by 1942 it had reached Nicaragua, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Uruguay. Today, Mexico has the highest per capita consumption of Coke in the world, along with Iceland.”
In Columbia, the labor union SINALTRAINAL has brought suit in the U.S. with the aid of U.S. unions against Panamco-Columbia, Bebidas y Alimentias, and the Coca-Cola company for the use of right wing para-militaries against union workers. According to the union, at least six of its leaders have been killed by death squads with alleged links to plant managers.
“ There is no question that Coke knew about, and benefits from the systematic repression of trade union rights at its bottling plants in Columbia”*
“ Colombian labor union 's oft-repeated allegations against The Coca-Cola Company and its Colombian bottling partners are completely false. They are nothing more than a shameless effort to generate publicity using the name of our Company, its trademark and brands.”**
In Guatemala, the Sisters of Providence Coca-Cola shareholders were a key part of the pressure on Coke to reform operations there.
Boycotts by the International Union of Food and Allied Workers Associations and other labor movements were another key part of pressuring Coke to take responsibility.
In Columbia, the solidarity of U.S. and international unions has been a significant part of the process both in the courts, and with threats of boycotts.
“ Given the local nature and the purpose of the Coca-Cola business, we believe that calls for boycotts of our products are not the appropriate way to further any cause, as they primarily hurt the local economy, local businesses and local citizens.”*
“ From the remote jungle areas of Chiapas, Mexico, to the Andean slopes of Ecuador; from the tiny thatch-roofed roadside towns of Bolivia and Peru to the sparkling major metropolises of Chile and Argentina, Coke is all over Latin America. Not only the beverage itself, but an infinite number of ads that blanket everything from billboards to shacks to government buildings to the concrete walls along mountain roadways”
“ In Chile… teen awareness of the 2001 “Uncap the Adventure” campaign was 72 percent versus 37 percent for the previous promotion aimed at the same age group. And teen participation in the program was 63 percent.”*
“ Christmas time in Ecuador, a heavily Catholic nation, finds the cities and campos of the country awash in nativity scenes and sparkling lights. But even more than traditional Christmas decorations, Christmas in Ecuador means Coca-Cola”*
“ Soccer is a passion in Latin America… through massive sponsorship deals, Coke has declared itself the official drink of the sport. In fact, Coke has more or less declared itself the official drink or sports in general in Latin America, despite the fact that it’s… not conducive to top physical performance.”*
“ When the Yankees first come to Trinidad Some of the young girls were more then glad
They said that the Yankees treat them nice
And they give them a better price”*
*- Holden and Zolov, p. 172
Responses to the murder of labor leaders. “ Coca-Cola mata!” (Coke kills. -in reference to Columbia.) “ Coca-Cola: La Chispa de la Muerte.”* (“Coca-Cola: The Sparkle of Death.”) *- Pendergrast, p. 332