Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Friday, October 13, 2017

Castro's Takeover of the Bacardi's Cuban Interests in 1960

     I ran across this story that told of the take over of the Bacardi empire in Cuba in 1960.  I found it to be very interesting and thought you might enjoy reading it as well.

How Bacardi Was Exorcised from Cuba by Fidel Castro

Bacardi House in Santiago de Cuba
There is the rum, Bacardi, which we all know. There is this exotic country, Cuba. The drink was born centuries ago in the sugarcane plantations of the beautiful island country.  

Will the Soul Ever Return to the Body?

As the era of Fidel Castro teetered towards its end, that was the million dollar question resonating in the hearts of rum aficionados around the world.

There is the rum, Bacardi, which we all know. There is this exotic country, Cuba. The drink was born centuries ago in the sugarcane plantations of the beautiful island country.

But the happiness did not last forever. The day came when the soul had to leave the body with much anguish.

The revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who stormed to power dethroning the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, saw red in letting private industries run free in a communist country.

But don't assume that the rapport between Castro and Bacardi had never been sweet. When Castro was fighting against Batista, the patriotic Bacardi’s who were deeply engrossed in Cuban social and political institutions cheered him on.

But the relationship turned sour after the honeymoon, after the fall of Batista, after the Castro regime formed its government.

Fidel meant business, and his business was to smother all capitalist ventures. In one swift move, he nationalized all sugar mills and other private initiatives in Cuba. Bacardi felt the heat of the red.
Bacardi Building, Havana

The company was now left with few friends and options.

On October 14, 1960, Cuban national radio announced the doom message, the takeover of a company built painfully by a family. The announcement was followed by national marines crashing into Bacardi's office.

Everything was against Bacardi but for one mistake the communist authorities made. Their marines stormed into the wrong building, the wrong city - Havana.

Meanwhile, at Santiago de Cuba where Bacardi's headquarters and production plant was situated, all was calm outside. Inside, the loyal staff of Bacardi was busy with serious business. A few minutes later, the job was finished; the officials walked out one by one, with a tense smile. They had successfully destroyed the genetic code of Bacardi rum - the last of the yeast cells, that particular breed found 150 years ago from the roots of a sugarcane plant which made Bacardi, Bacardi (only those specific yeast cells could build the unique taste of the drink after a feast on sugar).
Bacardi Rum Factory in Santiago de Cuba


The company had earlier slipped enough strains of the variety out of Cuba to Puerto Rico, where it was going to set up the company for future operations.

You can read the rest of the story at: