WikiLeaks cables: McDonald’s used US to put pressure on El Salvador

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Burger giant tried to delay US legislation in order to aid lawsuit being fought in Central American country, cables reveal
WikiLeaks cables: McDonald’s used US to put pressure on El SalvadorBurger giant tried to delay US legislation in order to aid lawsuit being fought in Central American country, cables reveal

Share17 Sarah Boseley guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 December 2010 21.30 GMT Article history
US ambassador Hugh Barclay ‘voiced concern that McDonald’s strategy ran directly counter to US interests’. Photograph: Jeff Roberson/AP

McDonald’s tried to delay the US government’s implementation of a free-trade agreement in order to put pressure on El Salvador to appoint neutral judges in a $24m (£15.5m) lawsuit it was fighting in the country. The revelation of the McDonald’s strategy to ensure a fair hearing for a long-running legal battle against a former franchisee comes from a leaked US embassy cable dated 15 February 2006.

Five days earlier, the firms’s vice- president for government relations, Dick Crawford, and general counsel for Latin America and Canada, Maria Legett, had briefed the US ambassador on their efforts to get the case settled, using the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) essentially as a bargaining chip. “They explained that the company has engaged in a Washington-focused advocacy effort to put pressure on the Salvadorans to resolve the case according to the rule of law, suggesting that CAFTA-DR implementation should be delayed pending resolution of the case,” the cable says.

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