Earlier this year Fox News Latino notes that McDonald’s closed all of its restaurants in Bolivia after years of failing dismally to attract a customer base:
It’s hard to go anywhere in the world without seeing those Golden Arches, beckoning hungry patrons to chow down on a Big Mac or some Chicken Nuggets. But [in] Bolivia the last McDonald’s restaurant closed its doors in 2002 and, since then, the Andean nation has been fiercely independent about what fast food it serves its citizens.
Bolivia has become the first Latin American country to not have a McDonalds (Cuba, which has one on the American-controlled Guantanamo Bay, doesn’t count). Bolivians love hamburgers, but they prefer to buy them from the thousands of indigenous women selling on the streets than from a global company.
When Bolivia rewrote its constitution in 2008, the country made sure to take steps to protect its food sovereignty, or local control, from foreign interest. Not only were 12 articles added to the constitution regarding local control over food, but in the following five years, Bolivia also added two laws in resistance to industrial agriculture and an economy too heavily weighted toward commodity crops.
Morales, for his part, has railed publicly against U.S. fast food chains and their control over the global market, going as far as taking his complaints to the United Nations General Assembly. “They seek profit and to merely standardize food, produced on a massive scale, according to the same formula and with ingredients which cause cancers and other diseases,” he told the UN General Assembly about American fast foods.
The end of McDonald’s reign in Bolivia puts the Andean nation on a select list of countries without the Golden Arches, which includes North Korea, Libya, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Vatican City.