Coke's PR Connects Canada and Colombia

After students at two Canadian universities, McMaster and the University of Guelph, voted down campus exclusivity deals with Coca-Cola, "the world's largest soft-drink company has launched a counter-offensive in hopes of heading off further boycotts." In December, Coke reps visited McMaster and the University of British Columbia. One Coke PR coordinator stressed that "these boycotts are actually affecting workers in the local area" and said allegations that the company is complicit in human rights violations in Colombia are false. Coke's PR manager in Colombia, Pablo Largacha Escallon, also took part in the Canadian tour. "There is a humanitarian crisis in Colombia, but [student activists] have made it a Coca-Cola-centric thing when it's a Colombia-centric thing," he said. Coke has also "recently hired a labour-relations director and plans to issue a human-rights policy next year." Twenty North American campuses are now "Coke free," but "hundreds more could follow suit soon in England."