Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

A website called Hispanically Speaking News claims that McDonald's is closing its restaurants in Bolivia.

A search of Google News has only a handful of mentions of this story, whereas I would have expected it to make major news, if only in the finance sections of newspapers.

The article mentions a documentary called "Why did McDonald’s Bolivia go Bankrupt", supposedly made by McDonalds - I'm wondering if this is fake news being pushed in order to promote the documentary, made by someone other than McDonald's.

There are, however, reports from relatively mainstream news sites about it leaving in 2002, for example the BBC posted the article Burger King cheers Big Mac retreat.

share|improve this question
    
I was in La Paz airport in 2008 and there was a McDonalds. The prices were extortionate, even by US or European standards. –  user5801 Jan 20 '12 at 0:11
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It seems clear that "Hispanically Speaking News" has misunderstood, and that McDonalds's closed in Bolivia in 2002.

The 2011 film's title ¿Por que quebró McDonald’s en Bolivia? is clearly in the past tense, and a note of the film from November 2011 in GlobalPost states clearly "after five years, McDonald's closed its eight branches and left the country in 2002". The BBC Mundo review in Spanish mentions the date, but the Institute for Economic Affairs comment on the BBC (in English) does not and this may have confused Hispanically Speaking News.

The clearest evidence that this story is about 2002 comes when Hispanically Speaking News said on December 22, 2011

After 14 years in the nation and despite many campaigns and promos McDonald’s was forced to close its 8 Bolivian restaurants in the major cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra. McDonald’s served its last hamburgers in Bolivia Saturday at midnight, after announcing a global restructuring plan in which it would close its doors in seven countries with poor profit margins.

rather similar to this from USA Today on 12/1/2002 taken from Associated Press

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Thousands of Bolivians crammed into McDonald's Saturday to order their final Big Macs before the fast food restaurant leaves the country for good. McDonald's served its last hamburgers in Bolivia Saturday at midnight, after announcing a global restructuring plan in which it would close its doors in seven countries with poor profit margins.

There seems to be no evidence that the film was made by "the company’s Creative and Marketing staff", but rather by Bolivians with an anti-globalisation message.

share|improve this answer
    
I assumed the claim that the film was by McDonald's was a deliberately false claim by the film's real authors, whereas it was merely a screw-up by the newspaper. Just like when I assumed the bogus Luther King, Jr. quote was deliberate rather than an accident: skeptics.stackexchange.com/posts/2761/revisions I need to apply Hanlon's razor more often. –  Andrew Grimm Dec 26 '11 at 4:06
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.