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Oshkosh Bails, Colgate Boots Pepsi
Free Burma Coalition, Ph: 608-256-6572 Fx: 608-263-9992
OSHKOSH BAILS FROM BURMA, COLGATE U. DUMPS PEPSI
POLITICAL CRISIS CASTS SHADOW OVER CORPORATE TIES TO BURMESE MILITARY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 23, 1996 OSHKOSH, WI -- Another major apparel
firm has pulled out of Burma. OshKosh B'Gosh, Inc. confirmed today that
it will not renew contracts with its military-owned supplier, which had
been making clothing for the Genuine Kids line.
Oshkosh joins Liz Claiborne, Eddie Bauer, Levi Strauss, Macy's and
Columbia Sportswear in shunning the military dictatorship, where wages are
low but the popular democracy movement has asked businesses to stay away.
This week, the ruling junta has arrested scores of democratic leaders who
had been elected in 1990 polls that the junta annulled.
Garment exports from Burma to the US have dropped by two-thirds as a
boycott movement has grown, calling Burma the "South Africa of the 90's."
Colgate University activists have caused Marriott food services on campus
to drop Pepsi this summer. Students gathered over 600 signatures calling
for a ban on PepsiCo products, due to the cozy relationship between
Pepsi's Burmese distributor and the brutal military regime. Harvard Burma
activists recently caused Pepsi to lose a $1 million campus contract.
Stanford students blocked a Pepsi-owned Taco Bell, while several other
campuses are pursuing the issue.
A February UN report said the following are commonplace in Burma:
"Torture, summary and arbitrary executions, forced labor, abuse of women,
politically motivated arrests and detention, forced displacement and
oppression of ethnic and religious minorities."
A handful of US companies remain in Burma, often in partnership with the
military. UNOCAL, Texaco and ARCO, along with PepsiCo, are prime targets
Six US cities have enacted sanctions against Burma, and a Senate sanctions
bill had its first hearing in the Banking Committee yesterday. The bill
received support from a wide spectrum: Senators Moynihan and D'Amato,
Wall St. billionaire George Soros and former Talking Head David Byrne.
Observers in Rangoon fear that the current crisis may peak this weekend.
Soldiers have killed thousands during previous pro-democracy uprisings.
Contact: Dr. Thaung Htun, National Coalition Government of the Union
of Burma 202-393-7342
Larry Dohrs, Free Burma Coalition 206-784-5742