Coca-Cola Backs Out from Sponsoring Live 8 Concerts

International Condemnation of Sponsorship Talks

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2005

Amit Srivastava, India Resource Centre +44 7731 865 591 (UK) E: amit@IndiaResource.org

London: The Coca-Cola company will not be sponsoring the Live 8 concerts, the India Resource Centre has learnt.

"We welcome the news that Coca-Cola will indeed not be using the Live 8 concert to whitewash their crimes against humanity in Colombia and India," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Centre.

It was initially reported on June 14 that Coca-Cola was being secretly courted by the organizers of Live 8 as a sponsor for the concerts slated for July to support the mobilizations against the G8 meetings taking place in Scotland.

Condemnation of the talks between Coca-Cola and Live 8 organizers was swift and came from all over the world.

Juan Carlos Galvis is with the Colombian trade union, Sinaltrainal, and is currently touring in the UK and EU to raise awareness about Coca-Cola's crimes in Colombia. "For Coca-Cola to be connected with Live 8 would have been the height of hypocrisy. This company is responsible for spreading poverty in my country Colombia, but also in Africa and across the developing world," said Mr. Galvis.

Rosie Kane, Member of the Scottish Parliament, introduced a motion in Scottish parliament opposing the talks between Coca-Cola and Live 8. "Live 8 organizers need to understand that big business, like Coca-Cola, are part of the problem and cannot be linked to the solution. The thought of Coca-Cola cashing in and advertising at Live 8 is beyond bizarre and should never have been on the agenda," said Rosie Kane, MSP.

"Coca-Cola is responsible for creating severe water shortages and pollution in India, and thousands have lost their livelihoods as a result. It is absurd to think that a poverty creating company can sponsor a poverty alleviating endeavor such as Live 8," said Amit Srivastava, director of the India Resource Centre which campaigns with Indian communities to hold Coca-Cola accountable.

Juan Carlos Galvis, Rosie Kane and Amit Srivastava are all scheduled to speak at various events at the counter G8 summit being organized in Scotland.

The US based Campaign to Stop Killer Coke sent a letter to Harvey Goldsmith, promoter and producer of Live 8, expressing their concern on the news of ongoing talks between Coca-Cola and Live 8.

The Coca-Cola company is the target of intense campaigns by community groups in India and internationally.

Thousands of rural Indians are facing severe water shortages and polluted groundwater and land - directly as a result of Coca-Cola's operations. The company has also distributed its toxic waste to farmers around its plants under the guise of fertilizer, and Coca-Cola sells products in the Indian marketplace with high levels of pesticides that could never be sold in the US or EU because they do not meet US and EU standards.

Coca-Cola's main Latin American bottler, Panamco, is on trial in the US for hiring right wing paramilitaries to kill and intimidate union leaders in Colombia. Since 1989, eight trade union leaders from Coca-Cola bottling plants have been murdered by paramilitary forces, and the lawsuit, filed by the United Steel Workers of America, charges that the paramilitary worked with the blessing of, or in collaboration with, company management.

For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org


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