Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca's statements about the "end" of Coca-Cola on Dec. 21 were taken out of context in media reports alleging the U.S.-based company would be kicked out of Bolivia on that date, a government spokesman said.
"The foreign minister's statements were decontextualized and there is nothing official," Foreign Ministry public affairs office chief Consuelo Ponce told Efe.
Choquehuanca said on July 13 that the government planned to invite Indian leaders and groups to celebrate the summer solstice on Dec. 21, when "the end" would come for capitalism and Coca-Cola, and a new era "of love" and "the culture of life" would begin.
"The end of selfishness, of divisions is on Dec. 21, 2012. The end of Coca-Cola must come on Dec. 21 and the start of the mocochinche (a soft drink made from peaches)," Choquehuanca said during an appearance in Copacabana, a town on the shores of Lake Titicaca near the border with Peru.
Media outlets weighed in on Choquehuanca's remarks, with many reports speculating that President Evo Morales planned to kick Atlanta-based Coca-Cola out of Bolivia on that date, which marks the end of the Mayan calendar.
Some people believe that the Mayans, who lived in what are now Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador between 800 B.C. and A.D. 900, predicted the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012.
The idea that the pre-Hispanic civilization predicted the end of the world in 2012 has been popular in some New Age circles since the 1970s.
Some Bolivian media outlets also speculated that U.S. fast-food giant McDonald's, which closed its restaurants in Bolivia in 2002 due to poor financial results after five years of operations, would also leave the country.
These media outlets based their stories on old reports about a documentary, "Por que quebro McDonald's en Bolivia?" (Why Did McDonald's Go Bust in Bolivia?), that was released in 2011 and discussed both the closing of the fast-food giant's restaurants and the importance of Bolivian food.
Embol, a unit of Chile's Embonor, bottles Coca-Cola in Bolivia.
Choquehuanca's words were "distorted" because he talked about a supposed loss of "world supremacy" by the popular beverage, but he never said the government would kick out Coca-Cola, La Paz Chamber of Commerce Mario Yaffar told Erbol radio. EFE