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Pepsi/Burma "CO-SIGNING" campaign

This is an October campaign with several revisions. The changes
improve and update the content, but are not critical, so the
original version remains valid. 

It is available faxed or mailed in 2 sheets (4 pages double-sided),
with a graphic of a forced labourer next to a big Pepsi question

This campaign puts pressure on some of PepsiCo's biggest customers
to ask questions that PepsiCo will find difficult to ignore...

                            Attention students!

                    PEPSI/BURMA "CO-SIGNING" CAMPAIGN 

OCT '95*: There is growing outrage at firms doing business in
Burma under military rule. Many actions target PepsiCo and oil
firms Unocal, Texaco, Total & ARCO, which fund gas pipeline
ventures supported by forced labour, forced relocation and other


PepsiCo may be profiting from forced labour in Burma. Because it
cannot export its profits from Burma due to the worthless
currency, PepsiCo must buy cash crops and sell them abroad to
earn money to pay for imported supplies for its bottling

The use of forced labour on commercial farms in Burma is well-
documented. But PepsiCo refuses our requests to investigate its
suppliers of farm products or even reveal their names. _Why?_
Does PepsiCo have something to hide? It also refuses to respond
to such inquiries from shareholder and human rights organiza-


But PepsiCo might respond to letters from student associations
that are co-signed by education authorities. Both sign lucrative
contracts giving PepsiCo access to student consumers in our
education system. 

We need to ensure that PepsiCo's most important customers, our
educational institutions, really make themselves heard. If
PepsiCo receives dozens of inquiries from schools and
universities, it might decide that business with dictators is
more trouble than it's worth!


Please ask your student and school authorities to write PepsiCo.
Be persistent but polite. Inform them of growing concern among
students about this issue. Begin highly-visible actions in your
school that target PepsiCo, such as postering, or leafleting
students near vending machines. Display protest placards at the
entrance to PepsiCo-controlled restaurants on campus, including
KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, East Side Mario's and (in U.S.) D'Angelos
Sandwich Shops, Chevy's, Hot n'Now & California Pizza Kitchens.

Please write letters similar to the one attached:

If you're in college or university, write to
a)   your student association 
b)   your university governing body. 
Ask them to co-sign a letter to PepsiCo. Other good co-signers may
be faculty heads and alumni associations.

If you're in high school, write to 
a)   your student association, if any, or a high school club. If
     there is no sympathetic student group, find two friends and
     launch a "Free Burma Club"!
b)   your school principal. 
Ask them to co-sign a letter to PepsiCo. Other good co-signers may
be school trustees and your parent-teacher association (PTA). 

If authorities refuse to write PepsiCo, or if they go ahead and
sign a contract with PepsiCo, target _them_ with student letters
persistently urging them to ask PepsiCo about forced labour. The
latest unfortunate example is the Students' Society of McGill
University (SSMU) in Montreal. It just handed PepsiCo exclusive
vending rights in its (William) Shatner University Centre and all
SSMU-run cafeterias. 

Publicize the co-signed letter until PepsiCo is compelled to
respond. Distribute it, post it, submit it to local media. Make
sure that people start to wonder: "DOES PEPSICO TRADE IN PRODUCTS


OPIRG-Carleton, tel (613) 788-2757, fax (613) 788-3989
Ontario Public Interest Research Group at    
Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive   
326 Unicentre, Ottawa ON  K1S 5B6, CANADA
E-Mail: ai268@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx            


Canadian Friends of Burma, tel (613) 237-8056, fax (613) 563-0017
National Office: 145 Spruce St., #206,
Ottawa ON  K1R 6P1, CANADA
E-Mail: cfob@xxxxxxxxxxx
                                                        * Revised: 01/11/95


Dear_____ and _____:

I would like to share with you my concerns about PepsiCo, which
does business with the brutal regime in Burma, the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC). 

PepsiCo engages in "countertrade" in farm products in Burma. This
means that PepsiCo must buy cash crops and sell them abroad for
hard currency in order to pay for imported supplies for its
bottling operations. 

This countertrade may well involve forced labour, extortion or
land expropriation. We know that SLORC boasts repeatedly about
using "voluntary" labour throughout Burma. The use of forced
labour on commercial farms there is well-documented. 

But PepsiCo will not investigate its suppliers of farm products or
even reveal their names. PepsiCo has refused to respond to
inquiries from shareholder and human rights organizations. 

However, PepsiCo may listen to student leaders, especially if they
have the backing of school and university authorities, since
together they control access to student consumers. 

Thus I request that the governing authorities of this
school/university, and the president of the student
association/high school club, co-sign the enclosed letter to
PepsiCo. Feel free to revise this letter using the enclosed
background sheet. Please send me a copy, as well as any response
from PepsiCo, so that I may pass it on to concerned students and
local news outlets.

Forced labour is not the only concern in Burma. PepsiCo's very
presence on Burma's campuses legitimizes a pattern of repression
against student dissidents. This has been documented by Amnesty
International and other sources. 

PepsiCo has ignored appeals by Burmese student refugees to
withdraw from Burma. The All Burma Students Democratic Front has
called for a global boycott. The International Union of Students
and Asian Students Association are among the 50-odd organizations
that now endorse this boycott. Growing numbers of North American
students are becoming outraged at PepsiCo's support for
dictatorship in Burma. 

I hope you agree that our fellow students should be able to enjoy
snack foods without supporting forced labour and repression
against students anywhere in the world. 

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your response.



Wayne Calloway
Chairman & CEO
PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577

Dear Mr. Calloway:

On behalf of concerned students at our school/university, we
request that you respond to allegations that PepsiCo is benefiting
from forced labour in Burma (Myanmar). We understand that you
operate soft-drink bottling plants under Burma's military regime,
the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). 

Before agreeing to future contracts with PepsiCo, we want
assurance that PepsiCo's operations in Burma do not support human
rights abuses in that country. Reports from Amnesty International
and Human Rights Watch/Asia indicate that SLORC has subjected
millions of Burmese to forced labour. 

In particular, we wish to know if PepsiCo's "countertrade" in farm
products is supported by forced labour, extortion or land
expropriation. We understand that, due to Burma's worthless
currency, PepsiCo must buy cash crops in Burma and sell them
abroad for hard currency, in order to pay for imported supplies
for its bottling operations. 

These allegations first came to light in October 1994 through
reports by the Karen Human Rights Group. We understand that you
have not responded to inquiries on this issue since then. We hope
you will answer the following urgent questions:

-    Can PepsiCo assure us that no forced labour, land
     confiscation or extortion were used in the production of farm
     products it purchased in Burma?

-    Will PepsiCo name the parties with whom it conducts its
     countertrade in farm products? Can it assure us that these
     parties... as well as the businesses from which they
     purchase... have no connection with the military? 

Many of our students enjoy PepsiCo products: Pepsi-Cola beverages,
Frito-Lay chips, and restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and
KFC. However, we understand that a boycott against PepsiCo
products is growing worldwide. If our students begin to observe
this boycott, this may affect any future contracts with PepsiCo
that we may consider. 

Thank you for your attention. We trust you will respond in the
very near future. 

Sincerely,                                   Sincerely,

Student President                       University Dean/President

cc.  local media; local and campus contacts for Pepsi, Frito-Lay,
     KFC, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell


OCT 95: PepsiCo has misled the public about its presence in Burma
(Myanmar) ever since entering the country in 1990, and setting up
Pepsi and 7up bottling operations. 

For instance, PepsiCo's public relations letter admits to the
practice of "countertrade" in farm products, bought from "small
local farmers" in Burma. However, it is likely that such
countertrade involves companies which are fronts for the illegal
regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). 

Canadian human rights monitor Kevin Heppner has compiled volumes
of refugee testimonials for the Karen Human Rights Group. He
reported in Oct '94:

     "As SLORC expands its army... many battalions then confiscate
     much of the best farmland in their area, evict the farmers,
     then force these same farmers to come back several days a
     week to do slave labour growing cash crops such as corn,
     butter beans, cashews or fruit trees. After the harvest, the
     produce is sold with all proceeds going to the local military
     command except for a percentage which must be sent to a SLORC
     front company in Rangoon." 

PepsiCo needs countertrade for hard currency to supply its
operations. According to the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER, 16
Feb 95), Burma's own money is virtually worthless: "For companies
like PepsiCo, which earn revenue in kyat, it's become a major
headache. Pepsi's solution: it uses its kyat profits to buy
agricultural commodities like mung beans and then sell them abroad
for hard currency."

Such exports are skyrocketing in Burma: "Partly as a result of
this trade, Burma's exports of beans and pulses rose by 63% to
$125 million in the year to March 1994." (FEER) This raises
concerns about a corresponding increase in forced farm labour.


PepsiCo was alerted to such concerns by the Interfaith Center on
Corporate Responsibility in New York City. In Dec '94, OPIRG-
Carleton in Ottawa asked PepsiCo specific questions. They have
been revised as follows:

-    Can PepsiCo assure us that no forced labour, land
     confiscation or other forms of extortion were used in the
     production of products purchased by PepsiCo?

-    Will PepsiCo name the parties with whom it does business, and
     assure us that they -- as well as the businesses from which
     they purchase -- have no connection with the military? 

PepsiCo has maintained an ominous silence on this subject. _Why?_
Does the company have something to hide? When confronted directly
on this matter at the shareholder meeting in May '95, CEO Wayne
Calloway responded by demanding direct evidence. 

He must know such proof is hard to come by. So far, no refugee
testimonials directly implicate PepsiCo. But would forced farm
labourers ever know to whom the crops were sold? Would even the
battalion commander running the forced labour farm? Would clerks
know who handle such products, whether at the Ministry of
Agriculture, or perhaps SLORC strategic command headquarters? Does
even PepsiCo know for sure? If it buys on the open market, do
PepsiCo's sellers know the source of their products? 


We may never know the whole truth. PepsiCo and SLORC are unlikely
to allow an incriminating independent inquiry. But as Heppner
reported recently, SLORC's incessant labour demands continue:

     "Virtually everything which is built in rural Burma is now
     built and maintained with the forced labour of villagers, as
     well as their money and building materials... [Income from]
     forced labour farming land confiscated by the military...
     fills the pockets of SLORC military officers and SLORC money-
     laundering front companies such as Union of Myanmar Economic
     Holdings Ltd. Even farming one's own land is more and more
     becoming a form of forced labour as SLORC continues to
     increase rice quotas which farmers must hand over for pitiful
     prices... If not, the farmer is arrested and the army takes
     his land, only to resell it or set up yet another forced
     labour farm." (Karen Human Rights Group, 4 Aug 95)

David Arnott with Burma Peace Foundation adds:

     "According to human rights organisations, the traditional
     village structure of Burma is breaking down as more and more
     land is confiscated for military farms and plantations run by
     slave labour. Combined with the export of rice while domestic
     consumers go without, the result is increasing malnutrition
     and high rates of child and maternal mortality (see recent
     UNICEF figures)."

Burma has become a state built on forced labour and extortion,
sustained by short-sighted foreign investment. SLORC boasts
repeatedly about extracting "voluntary" labour and "donations" for
so-called development projects. This involves millions of people,
by SLORC's own figures in its media mouthpiece, the
_New_Light_of_Myanmar_. Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch/Asia document other widespread abuses, including rape,
torture, murder, forcible relocation and expropriation. 


PepsiCo supports Burma's militarized economy. SLORC handpicks
candidates for coveted jobs at foreign firms such as PepsiCo.
Also, whenever PepsiCo pays the inflated official rate, it
supports forced labour and all the consequences of SLORC's
criminal activities. (The official rate is 5.75 Kyats/US$. The
black market pays 110-120 Kyats -- a 20-fold difference!) For
instance, SLORC controls the production of most heroin that
reaches North America, and profits from forced prostitution. And
since SLORC refuses to devote hard currency to health education or
any other social programs (UNICEF, Mar '92), these rackets help
promote "explosive growth" of AIDS. In Thailand, India and China,
the AIDS pandemic is at its worst on their borders with Burma.


PepsiCo attempts to downplay its moral support for SLORC. PepsiCo
claims not to endorse any political or military system, yet it co-
sponsored SLORC's first trade show in Apr '94. It describes its
partner U Thein Tun, head of Pepsi-Cola Products Myanmar Ltd., as
a "private entrepreneur," but he is closely tied to companies
controlled by SLORC. PepsiCo says that SLORC allows it to compete
with its own struggling bottling business. SLORC has thus handed
PepsiCo a virtual monopoly in soft drink production. 

What does SLORC gain in return? PepsiCo's highly-visible, red-
white-and-blue advertising presence is much more appealing than
SLORC's grim propaganda pronouncements. PepsiCo purveys images of
youth, fun and freedom, but the hidden message is that an American
company endorses military rule. The American dream of democracy
was a beacon for students during nation-wide demonstrations in
1988. The dream turned into a nightmare when SLORC massacred
students peacefully protesting outside the U.S. Embassy.

PepsiCo is proud to be sole sponsor for sports events in Burma,
providing free uniforms and subsidized pop. In so doing, PepsiCo
tacitly endorses repression on campuses walled-off to discourage
student organizing. SLORC has ordered teachers to "guard against
infiltration of undesirable elements in the student body" (Human
Rights Watch/Asia). Heroin is freely available on the heavily
policed campuses. Narcotics, pop and team sports help soften the
blow of poverty and oppression, and distract students who are
disaffected with military rule. 


PepsiCo's heavy-handed tactics worldwide, as well as in Burma,
demand a response by North American students, who are its major
consumers. They have already protested PepsiCo's push for long-
term monopoly deals with public school boards (such as Toronto)
and student associations (McGill in Montreal) to gain exclusive
market access for its products. There is a huge "evict Pepsi"
movement in India, where KFC has cut local farmers out of its
chicken market, and Pepsi dumps imported "recyclable" plastic
bottles by the ton. The firm is called one of the ten worst
corporations by Multinational Monitor magazine. 

PepsiCo has twice obstructed shareholder votes calling for
withdrawal from Burma. CEO Calloway attacks any challenge to
PepsiCo's ethics, and condemns boycotts as "strong-arm tactics"
(letter dated 25 Jul 94). This charge is absurd, coming from such
a formidable entity: the world's largest fast food firm, PepsiCo
controls Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and
dozens of regional acquisitions, partnerships and franchises. 

In 1995 a second shareholder resolution was added, calling on
PepsiCo to adopt a code of conduct on human rights. It remains on
the ballot for the May 1996 shareholders meeting. This resolution
has better prospects if PepsiCo faces the threat of losing its
biggest customers.

This is why we urge student associations, school boards and
universities to confront PepsiCo with the question: "DO YOU PROFIT


On 10 Jul 95, under threat of U.S. sanctions, SLORC released
Burma's democratic leader and Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu
Kyi. Suu Kyi warns foreign companies not to invest in Burma, and
cites SLORC's use of forced labourers in joint venture projects.
"In the long run, it will be the businessmen themselves who will
be hurt by investing at the wrong time."

Boycotts target oil firms Unocal, Texaco, ARCO and Total. Several
have blocked shareholder withdrawal votes. They fund a gas
pipeline in Burma supported by forced labour, being built through
fragile rainforest in ethnic territory. Other firms have proven
more responsive to citizen pressure. Amoco, Petro-Canada, Macy's,
Eddie Bauer and Liz Claiborne have withdrawn from Burma. Reebok,
Coca-Cola and the Bank of Nova Scotia have vowed not to do
business with SLORC. 

SLORC's tourism campaign, "Visit Myanmar Year 1996," is also
targeted for boycott. It too is supported by systematic forced
labour. Many tourist groups such as university alumni associations
are organizing junkets to Burma. But UCLA's alumni backed out of
their planned trip after learning of the boycott and health risks

Pressure is growing for U.S. sanctions against SLORC. A recent
sanctions bill passed the U.S. Senate before being defeated. The
cities of Berkeley, CA and Madison, WI have adopted Selective
Purchasing legislation, which bar city purchasing managers from
buying goods or services from companies doing business in Burma.
Burma has truly become the "South Africa campaign of the '90s."


OPIRG-Carleton, tel (613) 788-2757, fax (613) 788-3989 
Ontario Public Interest Research Group at    
Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive   
326 Unicentre, Ottawa ON  K1S 5B6, CANADA
E-Mail: ai268@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx            


Canadian Friends of Burma, tel (613) 237-8056, fax (613) 563-0017
National Office: 145 Spruce St., #206,
Ottawa ON  K1R 6P1, CANADA
E-Mail: cfob@xxxxxxxxxxx
                                                          Revised: 01/11/95