Country objects to being portrayed as a violent narco-state
Last week, the Bolivian government has lodged a formal complaint with the French embassy over the portrayal of the country in the recently released Ghost Recon: Wildlands. In Wildlands, a then-minor Mexican drug cartel has taken full control of Bolivia and in just two years (the game is set in 2019) turned it into a full narco-state, supporting its $2 billion per week cocaine export business. As a result, the United States’ seediest organizations — CIA, DEA and JSOC — deploy special ops to the country to destroy the cartel.
According to Reuters, “Interior Minister Carlos Romero said Bolivia had delivered a letter to the French ambassador and asked that the French government intervene,” though it’s unknown how Romero wants the French government to intervene with the just-launched game. Romero also said, “We have the standing to [take legal action], but at first we prefer to go the route of diplomatic negotiation.”
Countries straining relations over video games. Life imitates the internet on a frighteningly macro scale.
For its part, Ubisoft came back with an anodyne statement exculpating itself, noting “the game takes place in a modern universe inspired by reality, but the characters, locations and stories are all fantasies created solely for entertainment purposes,” before pivoting to patronizing compliments and, “hope that the in-game world comes close to representing the country’s beautiful topography.” Even if that topography is littered with fictional savages we have every right to murder with spooks.
Bolivia, to its mind, has done a lot to work against the kind of future Wildlands predicts in two years. While it has decriminalized the coca leaf, which has ancestral and medicinal uses in the country as well as status as a cash crop, it has also capped production. Bolivian President Evo Morales, speaking out against a recent U.S. State Department report which accuses Venezuela, Bolivia and Burma of having “failed demonstrably” to combat drug trafficking, tweeted over the weekend, “Colonial Bolivia under imperial domination: 37,000 hectares of coca. The Plurinational State: 20,000 hectares. Where is the demonstrable failure?” Morales, who has been president since 2006, is referring to a 2009 constitutional change that renamed the country to the Plurinational State of Bolivia.