Bolivia became the first McDonald’s-free Latin American nation, after struggling for more than a decade to keep their numbers out of ‘the red.’ And that fact is still making news.
After 14 years in the nation and despite many campaigns and promos McDonald’s was forced to close in 2002, its 8 Bolivian restaurants in the major cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
McDonald’s served its last hamburgers in Bolivia on a Saturday at midnight, after announcing a global restructuring plan in which it would close its doors in seven other countries with poor profit margins.
The failure of McDonald’s in Bolivia had such a deep impact that a documentary titled “Por que quebro McDonald’s en Bolivia” or “Why did McDonald’s Bolivia go Bankrupt,” trying to explain why did Bolivians never crossed-over from their empanadas to Big Macs.
The documentary includes interviews with cooks, sociologists, nutritionists and educators who all seem to agree, Bolivians are not against hamburgers per sé, just against ‘fast food,’ a concept widely unaccepted in the Bolivian community.
The story has also attracted world wide attention toward fast foods in Latin America. El Polvorin blog noted: “Fast-food represents the complete opposite of what Bolivians consider a meal should be. To be a good meal, food has to have be prepared with love, dedication, certain hygiene standards and proper cook time.”
Documental.¿Por qué quebró MacDonals? De Telesur.
flet is asking you to think for a moment about what lies behind McDonald's clean, bright image. It's got a lot to hide.
"At McDonald's we've got time for you" goes the jingle. Why then do they design the service so that you're in and out as soon as possible? Why is it so difficult to relax in a McDonald's? Why do you feel hungry again so soon after eating a Big Mac?
We're all subject to the pressures of stupid advertising, consumerist hype and the fast pace of big city life – but it doesn't take any special intelligence to start asking questions about McDonald's and to realise that something is seriously wrong.
The more you find out about McDonald's processed food, the less attractive it becomes, as this leaflet will show. The truth about hamburgers is enough to put you off them for life.
What's the connection between McDonald's and starvation in the 'Third World'?
THERE's no point in feeling guilty about eating while watching starving African children on TV. If you do send money to Band Aid, or shop at Oxfam, etc., that's morally good but politically useless. It shifts the blame from governments and doesnothing to challenge the power of multinational corporations.
HUNGRY FOR DOLLARS
McDonald's is one of several giant corporations with investments in vast tracts of land in poor countries, sold to them by the dollar-hungry rulers (often military) and privileged elites, evicting the small farmers that live there growing food fortheir own people.
The power of the US dollar means that in order to buy technology and manufactured goods, poor countries are trapped into producing more and more food for export to the States. Out of 40 of the world's poorest countries, 36 export food to the USA – thewealthiest.
Some 'Third World' countries, where most children are undernourished, are actually exporting their staple crops as animal feed – i.e. to fatten cattle for turning into burgers in the 'First World'. Millions of acres of the best farmland in poor contries are being used for our benefit – for tea, coffee, tobacco, etc. – while people there are starving. McDonald's is directly involved in this economic imperialism, which keeps most black people poor and hungry while many whites grow fat.
A typical image of 'Third World' poverty – the kind often used by charities to get 'compassion money'. This diverts attention from one cause: exploitation by multinationals like McDonald's.
GROSS MISUSE OF RESOURCES
GRAIN is fed to cattle in South American countries to produce the meat in McDonald's hamburgers. Cattle consume 10 times the amount of grain and soy that humans do: one calorie of beef demands ten calories of grain. Of the 145 million tons of grain and so fed to livestock, only 21 million tons of meat and by-products are used. The waste is 124 million tons per year at a value of 20 billion US dollars. It has been calculated that this sum would feed, clothe and house the world's entire population fo one year.
FIFTY ACRES EVERY MINUTE
EVERY year an area of rainforest the size of Britain is cut down or defoliated, and burnt. Globally, one billion people depend on water flowing from these forests, which soak up rain and release it gradually. The disaster in Ethiopia and Sudan is at leastpartly due to uncontrolled deforestation. In Amazonia – where there are now about 100,000 beef ranches – torrential rains sweep down through the treeless valleys, eroding the land and washing away the soil. The bare earth, baked by the tropical sun, becoms useless for agriculture. It has been estimated that this destruction causes at least one species of animal, plant or insect to become extinct every few hours.
Why is it wrong for McDonald's to destroy rainforests?
AROUND the Equator there is a lush green belt of incredibly beautiful tropical forest, untouched by human development for one hundred million years, supporting about half of all Earth's life-forms, including some 30,000 plant species, and producing a ajor part of the planet's crucial supply of oxygen.
PET FOOD & LITTER
McDonald's and Burger King are two of the many US corporations using lethal poisons to destroy vast areas of Central American rainforest to create grazing pastures for cattle to be sent back to the States as burgers and pet food, and to provide fat-food packaging materials. (Don't be fooled by McDonald's saying they use recycled paper: only a tiny per cent of it is. The truth is it takes 800 square miles of forest just to keep them supplied with paper for one year. Tons of this end up litteing the cities of 'developed' countries.)
Not only are McDonald's and many other corporations contributing to a major ecological catastrophe, they are forcing the tribal peoples in the rainforests off their ancestral territories where they have lived peacefully, without damaging their envronment, for thousands of years. This is a typical example of the arrogance and viciousness of multinational companies in their endless search for more and more profit.
It's no exaggeration to say that when you bite into a Big Mac, you're helping the McDonald's empire to wreck this planet.
What's so unhealthy about McDonald's food?
McDONALD's try to show in their "Nutrition Guide" (which is full of impressive-looking but really quite irrelevant facts & figures) that mass-produced hamburgers, chips, colas, milkshakes, etc., are a useful and nutritious part of any diet.
What they don't make clear is that a diet high in fat, sugar, animal products and salt (sodium), and low in fibre, vitamins and minerals – which describes an average McDonald's meal – is linked with cancers of the breast and bowel, and heart disease. Thisis accepted medical fact, not a cranky theory. Every year in Britain, heart disease alone causes about 180,000 deaths.
FAST = JUNK
Even if they like eating them, most people recognise that processed burgers and synthetic chips, served up in paper and plastic containers, is junk-food. McDonald's prefer the name "fast-food". This is not just because it is manufactured and serve up as quickly as possible – it has to be eaten quickly too. It's sign of the junk-quality of Big Macs that people actually hold competitions to see who can eat one in the shortest time.
PAYING FOR THE HABIT
Chewing is essential for good health, as it promotes the flow of digestive juices which break down the food and send nutrients into the blood. McDonald's food is so lacking in bulk it is hardly possible to chew it. Even their own figures show thata "quarter-pounder" is 48% water. This sort of fake food encourages over-eating, and the high sugar and sodium content can make people develop a kind of addiction – a 'craving'. That means more profit for McDonald's, but constipation, clogged arteries andheart attacks for many customers.
GETTING THE CHEMISTRY RIGHT
McDONALD's stripey staff uniforms, flashy lighting, bright plastic decor, "Happy Hats" and muzak, are all part of the gimmicky dressing-up of low-quality food which has been designed down to the last detail to look and feel and taste exactly the sae in any outlet anywhere in the world. To achieve this artificial conformity, McDonald's require that their "fresh lettuce leaf", for example, is treated with twelve different chemicals just to keep it the right colour at the right crispness for th right length of time. It might as well be a bit of plastic.
How do McDonald's deliberately exploit children?
NEARLY all McDonald's advertising is aimed at children. Although the Ronald McDonald 'personality' is not as popular as their market researchers expected (probably because it is totally unoriginal), thousands of young children now think of burgers andchips every time they see a clown with orange hair.
THE NORMALITY TRAP
No parent needs to be told how difficult it is to distract a child from insisting on a certain type of food or treat. Advertisements portraying McDonald's as a happy, circus-like place where burgers and chips are provided for everybody at any hourof the day (and late at night), traps children into thinking they aren't 'normal' if they don't go there too. Appetite, necessity and – above all – money, never enter the "innocent" world of Ronald McDonald.
Few children are slow to spot the gaudy red and yellow standardised frontages in shopping centres and high streets throughout the country. McDonald's know exactly what kind of pressure this puts on people looking after children. It's hard not to give in t this 'convenient' way of keeping children 'happy', even if you haven't got much money and you try to avoid junk-food.
As if to compensate for the inadequacy of their products, McDonald's promote the consumption of meals as a 'fun event'. This turns the act of eating into a performance, with the 'glamour' of being in a McDonald's ('Just like it is in the ads!') reucing the food itself to the status of a prop.
Not a lot of children are interested in nutrition, and even if they were, all the gimmicks and routines with paper hats and straws and balloons hide the fact that the food they're seduced into eating is at best mediocre, at worst poisonous – and their parnts know it's not even cheap.
RONALD'S DIRTY SECRET
ONCE told the grim story about how hamburgers are made, children are far less ready to join in Ronald McDonald's perverse antics. With the right prompting, a child's imagination can easily turn a clown into a bogeyman (a lot of children are very suspiciou of clowns anyway). Children love a secret, and Ronald's is especially disgusting.
In what way are McDonald's responsible for torture and murder?
THE menu at McDonald's is based on meat. They sell millions of burgers every day in 35 countries throughout the world. This means the constant slaughter, day by day, of animals born and bred solely to be turned into McDonald's products.
Some of them – especially chickens and pigs – spend their lives in the entirely artificial conditions of huge factory farms, with no access to air or sunshine and no freedom of movement. Their deaths are bloody and barbaric.
MURDERING A BIG MAC
In the slaughterhouse, animals often struggle to escape. Cattle become frantic as they watch the animal before them in the killing-line being prodded, beaten, electrocuted, and knifed.
A recent British government report criticised inefficient stunning methods which frequently result in animals having their throats cut while still fully conscious. McDonald's are responsible for the deaths of countless animals by this supposedly humane mehod. We have the choice to eat meat or not. The 450 million animals killed for food in Britain every year have no choice at all. It is often said that after visiting an abattoir, people become nauseous at the thought of eating flesh. How many of us would be prpared to work in a slaughterhouse and kill the animals we eat?
WHAT'S YOUR POISON?
MEAT is responsible for 70% of all food-poisoning incidents, with chicken and minced meat (as used in burgers) being the worst offenders. When animals are slaughtered, meat can be contaminated with gut contents, faeces and urine, leading to bacterial infetion. In an attempt to counteract infection in their animals, farmers routinely inject them with doses of antibiotics. These, in addition to growth-promoting hormone drugs and pesticide residues in their feed, build up in the animals' tissues and can furter damage the health of people on a meat-based diet.
What's it like working for McDonald's?
THERE must be a serious problem: even though 80% of McDonald's workers are part-time, the annual staff turnover is 60% (in the USA it's 300 %). It's not unusual for their restaurant-workers to quit after just four or five weeks. The reasons are not had to find.
NO UNIONS ALLOWED
Workers in catering do badly in terms of pay and conditions. They are at work in the evenings and at weekends, doing long shifts in hot, smelly, noisy environments. Wages are low and chances of promotion minimal.