In July, Bolivia foreign minister David Choquehuanca said Coca-Cola would no longer have a presence in the nation as of December 21. What followed showed the power of Coke's purse.
"The 21st of December 2012 is the end of selfishness, of division. The 21st of December has to be the end of Coca-Cola and the beginning of Mocochinchi [a local soft drink]. The planets will line up after 26,000 years. It is the end of capitalism and the beginning of communitarianism." —Choquehuanca
"The Coca-Cola Co. has been a part of the community in Bolivia... since 1941. Additionally, we support education and other initiatives that create positive social impact in the community. Like the Bolivian economy, our business has been growing steadily and we have plans to continue our investments." —Coca-Cola
"Foreign Minister [David] Choquehuanca's statements about Coca-Cola were taken out of context and there is nothing official." —Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Consuelo Ponce
[Illustration by Brian Taylor]
A version of this article appeared in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.