Bacardi is one of the biggest spirit drink producers in the world with sales valued at over $2 billion per year. But is its popularity deserved? Not if you have picked up the idea from its advertising that Bacardi is an authentic rum from Cuba. Bacardi makes a lot of the fact that it was established in Cuba in 1862, but today Bacardi is neither produced nor consumed in Cuba.
So if you want to drink an authentic rum from Cuba, order a Cuban brand such as Havana Club. Not only does it taste better, you’ll also be showing solidarity with Cuba.
But Bacardi hasn’t just sought to profit from market its faux Cuban credentials, it has also acted to reinforce the ongoing blockade of Cuba.
Did you know?
- The Bacardi company is worth over $1 billion but not a penny of its sales goes to the Cuban economy. The rum they sell is made elsewhere and their HQ is in the Bahamas, not in Cuba
- In 1994, Bacardi wrote to all foreign drinks firms, including British brewers, warning them off from investing in their former companies in Cuba
- In 1996, the passing of the infamous Helms Burton Law in the US opened the possibility to Bacardi and others of suing foreign firms who invest in their former properties in Cuba
- In 1998, Bacardi lobbied for another law, known as Section 211, which has had the effect of derecognising Cuba’s nationalisation of the trademark Havana Club. Bacardi has marketed a rum called ‘Havana Club’ in the USA, but it is not made in Cuba, it comes from Puerto Rico
- Bacardi is trying to force EU countries to recognise that it is the owner of the Havana Club brand name. This has been denounced as piracy by the Cuban government
- For over fifty years, Bacardi has devoted millions of dollars of its profits towards destabilising the sovereign Cuban government. This has included funding assassination attempts and terrorist attacks. See Bacardi – The Hidden War for more information.
What can you do?
- Boycott Bacardi and buy authentic Cuban rum such as Havana Club
- Order copies of the Boycott Bacardi leaflet to distribute outside bars, clubs and venues that have a Cuban theme but stock Bacardi instead of authentic Cuban rum. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
- Ask your local supermarket, off-licences, pubs and clubs to stock authentic rum from Cuba
- Raise this issue with your friends, college or university bar and ask them to drink or stock authentic Cuban rum. In recent years, Warwick University, SOAS and Sheffield University have all passed motions in favour of banning Bacardi on campus. If you’d like to do the same, you can download a model motion below.
THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK. BOYCOTT BACARDI
- Download the Boycott Bacardi leaflet
- Download the Boycott Bacardi model motion
- Read Bacardi: The Hidden War
Bacardi: The Hidden War
Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina's exposé of the anti-Cuba activities of the Bacardi rum company.
This book is full of revelations such as the way in which Bacardi's boss once plotted to assassinate Fidel Castro and the company's role in promoting laws that strengthened the US blockade.
Calvo Ospina also explains how Bacardi's men were at the heart of the Bush administration. Buy the book now from the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.