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Bolivia complains to France about its portrayal in video game

Reuters

LA PAZ (Reuters) - The Bolivian government has filed a formal complaint with the French embassy about a video game produced by a French company that portrays the South American country as an area controlled by drug traffickers, authorities said.

The game, "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands," was produced by France-based Ubisoft Entertainment SA and is set to be officially launched next week. The game's beta version has been downloaded by 6.8 million users, according to Ubisoft.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Interior Minister Carlos Romero said Bolivia had delivered a letter to the French ambassador and asked that the French government intervene, adding that Bolivia reserved the right to take legal action.

"We have the standing to do it (take legal action), but at first we prefer to go the route of diplomatic negotiation," Romero said.

In the video game, according to a synopsis, a Mexican drug cartel controls Bolivia and has turned it into a violent, anarchic narco-state.

Bolivia is the world's third-largest producer of coca leaves, used to manufacture cocaine, behind Colombia and Peru.

In a statement to Reuters on Thursday, Ubisoft said the game is "a work of fiction" and that Bolivia was chosen as the background for the game because of its "magnificent landscapes and rich culture."

"While the game's premise imagines a different reality than the one that exists in Bolivia today, we do hope that the in-game world comes close to representing the country's beautiful topography," Ubisoft said.

The French embassy in La Paz did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on Thursday.

(Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Additional reporting by Luc Cohen in Buenos Aires; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler)