Cuba Is Trying to Pay Off a $270 Million Debt With Rum | VinePair

Cuba Is Trying to Pay Off a $270 Million Debt With Rum

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It’s probably been a while since you looked at your finances as beer money and not beer money. Probably. In Cuba, though, alcohol is still considered fair game in terms of currency. But they don’t use beer; they use rum.

Cuba offered to pay off all or part of a $270 million debt with the Czech Republic in rum, The Guardian reports. The Dnes, a daily newspaper in the Czech Republic, reported that deputy finance minister Lenka Dupakova said the rum repayment plan was “an interesting option.” Go ahead and count that as interesting and tasty.

The debt mostly stems from before Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Cuba was a big trader with Czechoslovakia in the 1980s, back when both countries were communist, and the two countries frequently offered deals involving everything from pasta to doctors, Bloomberg reports. Rum, however, is in a class of its own.

The Czech Republic imported $2 million of rum from Cuba last year, Bloomberg reports. If they took the deal and kept drinking rum at that rate, the Czechs would have enough rum for 135 years. But Czech officials worried that they would end up shouldering a big cost. The brands “might be good,” the Czech finance ministry said in a statement, “but we would have to advertise them and generally launch them into the market.”

There’s a couple ways to solve that problem and get people to start drinking more Cuban rum in the Eastern European country. They could make hundreds of millions of Cuba Librés, for example. Then, when winter hits and Cuba Librés fall out of season (or the Czech Republic runs out of Coca Cola), everyone can start making some warm grog.

The biggest problem with the rum plan is that the Czechs are a beer drinking people — they drink the most beer per capita in the world — so that much rum probably isn’t a feasible option. The Czech finance ministry agrees, and “believes that at least part of the debt should be dealt in cash.”

Still, you can’t blame Cuba for trying.


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