PepsiCo's still in Burma

The Anarchives (
Wed, 25 Dec 1996 18:52:55 +0000 (GMT)

Date: Tue, 24 Dec 96 16:12:39 CST From: Reid Cooper <ai268@FreeNet.Carleton.CA> Subject: PepsiCo's still in Burma

B O Y C O T T P e p s i C o !

PEPSI IS STILL IN BURMA: A state built by forced labor

Phone 1-800-433-COLA and say "Pepsi, Stuff It! Leave Burma Now!"

PepsiCo does business in Burma (Myanmar) under the brutal Slorc regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council. PepsiCo said it helps the economy by buying "products such as mung beans, sesame seeds and rattan from small, local farmers." In fact, PepsiCo must export them for hard currency because it cannot use Burma's nearly-worthless currency to buy imports of supplies for its bottling plants.1

But are these products made by forced labor? "Virtually everything which is built in rural Burma is now built and maintained with the forced labor of villagers... [Income from] forced labor farming... fills the pockets of Slorc military officers..."2

PepsiCo has lost contracts at Harvard, Stanford, Colgate and other universities, partly because it refuses to name the sources of these farm products. Now it says it has stopped these exports. How, then, does it now pay for its imports? In April, PepsiCo declared it "divested" its share to partner Thein Tun (a Slorc businessman), but due to "contractual obligations" it continues to bottle and market Pepsi & 7up through a franchise agreement with him. Boycott groups reject this as a devious "paper shuffle." PepsiCo can easily buy out Thein Tun any time and break the contract.

Every year, another reason to boycott!

1990: The National League for Democracy (NLD) wins elections by a landslide. Slorc tries to crush the NLD. PepsiCo forms a joint venture with Thein Tun.3 The All Burma Students Democratic Front declares a boycott against PepsiCo.

1991-1994: PepsiCo opens its first plant with staff hand-picked by Slorc.4 PepsiCo's high-profile brands, sports events, trade shows and beauty pageants serve as propaganda for fun and prosperity to distract the people from Slorc's brutality.5

1995: PepsiCo refuses to allow shareholders to vote on withdrawal from Burma. Under threat of U.S. sanctions, Slorc releases NLD leader, Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, from six years of house arrest.

1996: Slorc bans Suu Kyi's highly-popular weekend gatherings, while PepsiCo's Thein Tun urges a compulsory Slorc rally of 10,000 to "CRUSH ANY... DESTRUCTIONISTS" who oppose army rule.6 He reportedly funds Slorc's Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA). USDA thugs attack Suu Kyi and her aides and supporters.

The South Africa of the 90s!

At least 100 colleges and 20 high schools have Pepsi boycott campaigns. The State of Massachusetts, San Francisco and other U.S. city governments boycott Burma through "selective purchasing" bills. Coca-Cola & Reebok vow not to enter Burma. Others have pulled out, including Apple Computer, Heineken, Carlsberg, Labatt (Interbrew), Amoco, Petro-Canada, Columbia Sportswear, Oshkosh B'Gosh, Liz Claiborne, Eddie Bauer & Levi Strauss which stated "it is not possible to do business in Burma without supporting the military government and its pervasive violations of human rights."

How you can help free Burma

* Pressure schools to "TERMINATE food or beverage contracts selling PepsiCo products until it leaves Burma!" Tell us your actions; we will support you with campaign tools (see address below). Keep the attached boycott list in your wallet!

* Urge your school and city to pass selective purchasing laws. Urge President Clinton to invoke sanctions NOW through the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act.

* OTHER BOYCOTTS: Unocal, Texaco, ARCO & Total build gas pipeline projects that depend on forced labor and rainforest destruction. Disney, Macy's and other firms sell clothes "made in Myanmar." Slorc woos tourists with attractions built by forced labor. Seagram sells Chivas Regal in Burma in partnership with Thein Tun.

"As far as we are concerned, Pepsi has not divested from Burma." "...Companies such as Unocal & Pepsi, ARCO, & Texaco only serve to prolong the agony of my country by encouraging the present military regime to persevere in its intransigence." - Aung San Suu Kyi

Sources: 1. Far Eastern Economic Review, 16 Feb 95; 2. Karen Human Rights Group, 4 Aug 95; 3. Asian Business, Sep 92 4. Investing in Myanmar, 1994; 5. Institute for Asian Democracy, 1993; 6. The Nation (Bangkok) 17 Jun 96

Boycott PepsiCo firms & partnerships! In the U.S. PepsiCo brands include:

PIZZA HUT (1-800-948-8488) TACO BELL (1-800-TACO-BEL) KFC (1-800-CALL-KFC) EAST SIDE MARIO'S D'ANGELO'S CHEVY'S CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN (These restaurants are usually franchises. They all pay a share of their profits to PepsiCo)

FRITO-LAY (1-800-FL-CHIPS) Ruffles, Sunchips, Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Munchos, Rold Gold, Smartfood

PEPSI-COLA (1-800-433-COLA) 7-Up (owned outside U.S.), Mountain Dew, Slice, Mug, All-Sport; PepsiCo also markets single sizes of Ocean Spray & Lipton Ice Tea through partnerships.

For Pepsi Boycott stickers: For Burma Boycott Information:

Julee Wasserman The Free Burma Coalition c/o Burma Action Committee Univ. of Wisconsin, 225 North Mills St PO Box 1926, Portland, OR 97207 Madison, WI 53706 (503) 788-6442 (608) 827-7734; Fax (608)-263-9992

World wide web Join Burma discussion by internet! E-mail to: "subscribe free-burma YourFirstName YourLastName"

WRITE PEPSI: Roger Enrico, CEO, PepsiCo Inc., Purchase, NY 10577; FAX PEPSI: 1 (914) 253-2070.

[revised December, 1996]

Reid Cooper