The Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) has launched a thinly-veiled attack on Bacardi rum in the latest twist to a long-running controversy surrounding the drink.
The pressure group is stepping up a campaign to highlight the fact that Bacardi is not made or drunk in Cuba, and does not contribute to the Cuban economy, which has suffered the effects of a US trade blockade since 1962.
The CSC has published a leaflet headlined “Think before you drink Bacardi”, which it is sending to its 4,000 members and affiliated organisations to distribute. It claims Bacardi-Martini supports the trade embargo and points out its headquarters is actually in the Bahamas.
The carefully-worded pamphlet does not call for a Bacardi boycott. But it encourages readers to ask supermarkets, off-licences, clubs and university or trade union bars to stock authentic rum from Cuba, such as Havana Club.
CSC spokesman Rob Miller says: “Bacardi is obviously conscious of its Cuban connection. It wants to play on that. Cuba has a trendy, hip kind of image.”
Bacardi was established in Cuba in 1862, and operated until its properties were expropriated by the Fidel Castro regime. It is still owned by the Bacardi family and the rum is made to the original formula.
A statement from Bacardi-Martini in the UK says: “We question why such a rich and proud Cuban heritage would not be acknowledged and taken into consideration.”
The US will not recognise trademark rights connected with Cuban businesses that were nationalised by the communist government under a US law known as “Section 211”.