Why Havana Club is Unique and Why in Miami Mojitos are not Sold

A BBC report of the last year affirms that there are two versions of the Cuban rum Havana Club: “one which is for sale in the United States and another that is sold in the rest of the world.”

However, Yahima del Pilar Rodríguez Alvarez, communication specialist for San José rum distillery, where Havana Club made in Cuba is produced, the one which is commercialized in “the rest of the world”, assures that there’s only one and she explains some features of the process that makes it unique:

To obtain the base liquor “the raw material, the first ones which are water and the molasses, have to be authentic. The molasses is a by-product of the Cuban sugar industry, must be diluted in water and we add something that from the know-how point of view, or technology is only property of Havana Club, any other producer, even if it’s Cuban can use it which is the yeast.”

I say, those who produce Havana Club and sell it in 8th Street, for example, do they import the molasses from Cuba? Well, no. This would be a Puerto Rican Havana Club, fruit of those brother sugar plantations, but foreign anyway.

On top of that the recipe of the Cuban rum is very demanding, Yahima herself told us other details that differentiate it from the rest of domestic and foreign light rums:

“The yeast in the interaction process contributes certain compounds like ethers needed to obtain a liquor of unique quality and then the structure of the distillation column complete the unique taste of the sugarcane liquor that serves as base for our Havana Club rum.”

There are other important data: “The aging is natural, there is no control of temperature, neither control of humidity, it’s the exchange between that liquor, the oxygen that penetrates through fibers of the barrel and the barrel itself.”

“The natural aging distinguishes the light Cuban rum, in the case of Havana Club, it’s identified completely by a natural aging, in barrels of white oak that have already aged whisky before, that is part of the tradition that has become a law, that is, it’s part of the regulations established by Cuba Ron which is the Cuban party to which we belong. The aging must natural, full, and continuous, those are the characteristics we try to preserve in order to give the client that rum of quality.

So patiently, and with a lot of care “it’s obtained a dynamic system of rum bases and with different formulas, in different proportions, the rum master is able to tell apart one product from another, creating a taste profile for all dark rums of Havana Club trademark, beginning with the Especial, the Especial Plus, the Ritual, the Reserva, after that come the age markers, as in the case of the 3-year and the 7-year aged rums…”

Of course also the exquisiteness of the rum master and the taste judges put some spice in the process: “The rum bases have a minimum age which is that of the rum being produced, but more difficult than having the correct bases is to attain the same taste profile in each edition of the product, rum masters also contribute to that, because it’s them who make the adjustments to the formula to find the exact taste profile.”


It’s not like we don’t want to make a toast with a Mojito…

The recipe of the drink includes peppermint, sugar, and lemon in short that any bartender anywhere could fix the drink, but it clarifies: Cuban rum. Then I understand why in the United States, regrettably, mojitos cannot be sold.

It’s even clearer in times of a fundamentalist administration in the White House and systematic return to badly conceived plans like the Helms Burton Law, created to separate two towns, even families, like seas haven’t been able to do it. The blockade forbids raising a toast, each one in their side, with the same drink:

“We are present in more than 120 countries around the world, we work approximately with 60% of the total demand of rum worldwide, because the 40% appears in the United States and we don't have access to the North American market”, says Yahíma. Her colleague Venus Carrillo, Communication and Public Relations Specialist of Havana Club International S.A. adds:

“On the data collected through visitors from the North American market we know the rum Havana Club has good acceptance therefore sales would be guaranteed. The masters themselves have publicly said that Havana Club rum has today the capacity to cover the North American market, for both the pleasure and the production, but we cannot sell due to the limitations of the blockade.”

The hindrances of the blockade to our Havana Club began earlier: “Aging barrels are made from white American oak, they are imported, the U.S. manufacture them, we don’t have direct access to the North American market, then we buy them from Ireland or Scotland, after they are used to age Jameson, Chibas, we buy them from these producers already used, to give a bit, but not so much, because if they were new it would be whisky what we obtain. Undoubtedly just the transportation would reduce the costs, although they are trademarks commercialized by Pernod Ricard, and the negotiation among partners lowers the price, the distance increases”, Yahíma explains.

Venus shares eloquent figures, those that opened eyes wide: “Despite that, we are in 120 countries, we are today the number one in Premium and Super Premium rums, is the world trademark, although Pernod Ricard, to which we belong, is second as for commercialization, we have a very good position regarding rums.”

According to the BBC report, the litigation has been long and expensive, those “condemned” assure that they have “the recipe”, the owners have demonstrated they have the origin, the raw material and also, the recipe (you have tasted it). I tell you we have the molasses as thick as our will and of course, when the blockade is lifted, not the embargo as the BBC timidly names it, we will have a toast with mojito.

By the way, we’ll do it in our homes, using the Havana Club rum born in sugar cane factories, our factories… if we defend the mojito with such strength, imagine how it will be with our homes and land, with the freedom and the principles…

  • Published in Now

Cuba Strengthens State Entrepreneurial System, Eases Private Sector

Cuba is improving the state entrepreneurial system due to its key role in economic development, and it is making the rules that govern the private sector more flexible, Marino Murillo, president of the Commission for the Implementation of Guidelines, told the People's Power National Assembly (Parliament) on Saturday.

When speaking at Havana's Convention Center at the extraordinary session of the Cuban Parliament to analyze economic matters, the head of the Commission in charge of following up on the strategies to update the country's socioeconomic system noted that measures have been taken in both sectors.

According to Murillo, the state entrepreneurial system has undergone several transformations since 2011, when the 6th Congress of the Communist Party approved the 274 Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy.

Work is underway in 22 new medium- and short-term impact (this year) measures to boost the state enterprise, which is facing financial difficulties and less flexibility than non-state forms of production, actions that are pending for approval, Murillo noted.

Among the initiatives is the chaining of the companies linked to the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM, in Spanish), a key component in the projects to attract foreign investments, which will allow Cuba to diversify markets, promote exports and reduce imports based on an increase in domestic production.

Regarding the private sector, Murillo said that additional rules will be announced soon to make it more flexible, although without renouncing the control of that sector, which is considered a complement of the socialist state enterprise.

Over the past few months, rules were announced to make self-employment more flexible, considering that there are nearly 600,000 self-employed workers in Cuba.

According to Murillo, the country's leadership has established other priorities in the implementation of the guidelines until 2021, in addition to those related to the state enterprise, including the monetary ordering with the currency unification and exchange and the conclusion of the Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030.

Murillo also referred to the comprehensive revision and improvement of the policies that support the socioeconomic update, considering that some of them did not have the expected results.

Regarding the current situation, marked by economic challenges that to a great extent are the result of Washington's hostility and the tightening of the economic blockade of Cuba for nearly 60 years, he noted that it should not be interpreted necessarily as an obstacle to the implementation of all 206 policies approved by the Congress of the Communist Party.

Although the situation is complex, progress does not always depend on a financial problem but on our capacity and intelligence for implementation, Murillo added.

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Cuba in Permanent Contact with Kenya over Kidnappings of Doctors

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez ratified that Cuba is in a permanent contact with the Government of Kenya regarding the kidnappings of Cuban Doctors Assel Herrera and Landy Rodriguez in that African country.

The head of Cuban diplomacy said on Twitter that Kenyan authorities are making their biggest efforts in that delicate affair.

He added that the relatives of the two collaborators are being informed about their situation and a governmental contact group is working on this situation.

Previously, the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) had informed about the kidnappings of the two physicians, who were rendering their services in the county of Mandera, in Kenya. The Ministry said that Assel Herrera is a specialist in Integral General Medicine from eastern Las Tunas province, while Landy Rodriguez is a surgeon from central Villa Clara.

Cuba's medical collaboration in Kenya started in June 2018 and involves some 101 physicians.

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Cuban Constitution will keep the Revolution Young, Assures Legislator

The new Constitution proclaimed on Wednesday in Cuba will keep young the Revolution that began in 1959, deputy Jorge Gómez said today in this capital.

'The security of the continuity of the Revolution does not mean stagnation, each new generation will always consider new processes, new possibilities, that is what makes it possible for a Revolution to remain young,' Gómez told Prensa Latina.

In the Havana Convention Center, the parliament member stressed the Magna Carta is a platform to find new ways, because it is a very contemporary document that allows to experiment many variants.

I am from another generation, but there are many young legislators who have good faith and the criteria of what can be done, and this law allows it to be so open, he said.

The Magna Carta has many perspectives and recognizes many rights that happily give the image of what the Cuban Revolution is, emphasized the Antillean musician.

I am very happy with this law, I am very happy to have participated in this process, I was one who debated the most during the discussions, said Gomez.

It is very nice to know that in a way I had participation, and in the most intimate level I feel great rejoicing, confessed the parliament member.

The constitutional text, which replaces that of 1976, will come into force after having been ratified in the ballot box on February 24 by almost seven million Cubans, 86.5 percent of those who can exercise their right to vote.

It establishes changes in the structure of the State, recognizes various forms of property, including private ownership, the importance of foreign investment, strengthens popular power in municipalities and expansds rights and individual and collective guarantees.

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Cuban Science Monitors the Protection of Water Resources

The monitoring of the quality of the terrestrial waters, the efficiency of the hydraulic resources and the maintenance and rehabilitation of the beaches, are today actions prioritized by the Cuban science in this central-eastern region.

We must take advantage of each space with dynamism and effectiveness, with the use of the potential for the contribution to the productive and social processes ', assured Andrea de Armas, delegate of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma), in Camagüey.

The largest province of Cuba and with significant water reserves experienced a notable increase in drinking water supply, in addition to the monitoring of 112 points, including 64 dams, according to Citma's notes.

In the last five years, investments have been associated with the rehabilitation of about 20 kilometers from the Cuban-Bulgarian Driver to the city of Camagüey, as well as maintenance programs at the territory's water treatment plant.

The construction of two waste treatment plants in Cayo Cruz, works valued in millions of pesos in national currency, is also included in an extensive program that covers the 16,000 square kilometers of the province of Camagüey, and which has the support of specialists and scientific staff.

As part of one of the most important construction projects for the local economy, there are also actions to maintain beaches with an investment of 120 million Cuban pesos, based on the damage caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

In northern Camagüey, the Ministry of Tourism is leading an investment process that spans the Cruz, Guajaba and Sabinal islets, located in the Sabana-Camagüey archipelago, the largest system of sandy keys in the Caribbean.

Rehabilitation of coastal fronts, restoration of dunes, construction of light infrastructure in areas of public use, elimination of invasive species, mitigation measures of coastal erosion, are also included in the Cuban government timetable.

Arreaza: Venezuela Will Send Oil to Cuba Despite U.S. Sanctions

The U.S. is using new tools to strengthen their financial blockade on Cuba and Venezuela in attempt to sink their economies and replace their legitimate governments. 

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Monday that his country will continue to send oil to Cuba despite the U.S. sanctions on vessels transporting oil to the Latin American island.

RELATED: Punched-Out: US Cancels Deal Between MLB and Cuban Baseball Federation

"Venezuela will always fulfill its commitments with the brotherly people of Cuba," Arreaza pledged and commented that "when capitalism’s conventional power attacks you - you have to know how to respond by unconventional means, while always respecting international law. We are experts." 

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on 34 vessels owned by Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA); this means that all shipments and transactions carried out by them will be banned.

These absurd measures taken against the Venezuelan oil tankers also affect the Liberia-based Ballito Shipping Co. and the Greece-based ProPer In Management Co.

By imposing this arbitrary action, the U.S. government seeks to destabilize the Venezuelan government by creating a liquidity crisis, a goal which became evident when Vice President Mike Pence April 5 said that “the U.S. will continue to exert all diplomatic and economic pressure” against President Maduro’s administration.

Recordamos a los amigos que la lucha de los pueblos de Cuba y Venezuela, no es solo en defensa de sus respectivas revoluciones sino en defensa de la humanidad. No dejemos que una vez mas el imperialismo agreda a un pueblo de la región.

"We remind our friends that the struggle of the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela is not only in defense of their revolutions but in defense of humanity. Let's not allow imperialism once again assault the people of the region."

This U.S. sanctions are also related to the opposition politician Juan Guaido’s attempt to block Venezuelan oil shipments to Cuba as he believes that they are being used to finance Cuban intelligence’s work.

The U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin justified the new sanctions on the grounds that Cuba has been a strong supporter of Venezuela.

“Treasury is taking action against vessels and entities transporting oil, providing a lifeline to keep the illegitimate Maduro regime afloat,” Mnuchin said and added that the U.S. remains committed to holding the Cuban revolution “accountable for its direct involvement” in Venezuela.

After the U.S. announcement, the Venezuelan government said that the appropriate legal measures will be taken to respond to such unacceptable measures, which were also condemned by Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

The shipment of oil from to is backed by agreements between both countries for years, "and of course it is positive for Venezuelans and Cubans"

Cuba and Venezuela have been close political and economic allies since 2000. The South American country became the island's main oil provider through an agreement which grants preferential oil prices in exchange for Cuban medical and educational services.

The most recent fuel shipment to Cuba left Venezuela on April 4, carrying liquefied petroleum gas. Another three vessels are waiting off Venezuela to load with shipments destined for Cuba.

Due to the U.S. economic war on Venezuela, however, there has been a decline in Bolivarian oil shipments to Cuba, a country which has been looking for for alternative suppliers, among which are Russia and Algeria.

  • Published in Cuba

“A cooperative that contributes”

Emerged in June 20th of 2013 the First Grade Non Farmer Cooperative of Waste Recycling from San José in Mayabeque, within the 15 existent in the country, it has a high recognition due to the management it makes. As a consequence of the actualization of the Economic and Social Model supported by Guidelines of the Economic and Social Politic of the Party and the Revolution this cooperative is constituted. Its president Eida Pérez Hernández, a young woman dares each day and in that incessant work we find her.

“At the beginning as everything, we had ignorance about what a cooperative was, at that moment I was the director of the State Company and the change was very brusque because it was not what we were used to, and we did not know to begin something new. Nowadays we still have the accompaniment of our Ministry and thank to that our cooperative has been able reach the results that it has”

“A cooperative that contributes”

To recover, process and trade wastes, bottles, articles among other equipments that the state enterprises and people generate in order to be reused in the economy as secondary raw material is included in its social object, and although work is hard the 15 members receive a equitable salary not less than 3500 pesos per month through the collective management.

Eida Pérez Hernández, President of the Cooperative explains that “people are in charge of bringing their raw material to the cooperative, which is checked and classified and later it is weighed and afterward a payment is given depending on the product the bring, among them bottles, aluminum, paper and cardboard, bronze, stainless steel, melted iron, plastics, all that in dependence of a list of prices that it is at sight for people could know the price that we offer for that raw material. One of the advantages is that our cooperative makes the payment in cash, because we have a bank account which allows us to extract money in dependence on the sales framework of the day”.

“A cooperative that contributes”

“The other way is with the state sector, which is made with the companies of the municipality, through a contract and an engagement of delivery of their raw material and wastes. All this, it means, the recovery from the population and the state sector makes us the fulfillment of our state order”
This non farmer company from San José de las Lajas, awarded as national vanguard twice, has good economic and productive results.

“As we are a cooperative we do have a state order, and we accomplish it with the Company of Recovery of Raw Materials from the province of Mayabeque, this is made through a contract at the beginning of the year. After our state order is accomplished we can sale to thirds, such as: self-employed workers, other companies who are interested in our raw material and this make a little easier the productive chain. That is why self-employed workers have through us a way to acquire their raw materials.”

“A cooperative that contributes”

This non state company of Waste Recycling from San José de las Lajas contributes with the 1% of the territorial contribution, promoting the local development.
“Last year we gave more than five thousand tons to the economy of the country, we are contributing with the 10% of the tax over sales, besides the tax over the benefits”.

It is a reality that the non farmer cooperatives contribute with the efficacy and efficiency in the activities to take forward the economic processes of the country. For its members this results the principal source of income in their families, besides of recognizing its importance in what recovery of raw materials represents for the country.


  • Published in Cuba

Cuba Highlights UNESCO's Role to Consolidate World Peace

Paris, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) Cuba on Tuesday noted here the crucial role of UNESCO in the consolidation of peace, which is increasingly relevant in light of growing global threats.

The statement was made by the Cuban representative at the 206th session of the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ambassador Oscar Leon Gonzalez, who called on member States to defend peace and settle disputes through dialogue, in strict accordance with the principles of the Organization.

In that regard, he recalled that the region of Latin America and the Caribbean is a victim of the aggressive and irresponsible attitude of the government of the United States, which implements a regime change policy against independent and sovereign States, thus violating international law and the UN Charter.

'The possibility of using military force against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is declared openly, which would bring unpredictable negative consequences for the region,' he charged.

All this challenges the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone, signed by the heads of State and Government in Havana in 2014, Leon added.

The diplomat also condemned the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, with more damage to its people in all spheres of society, including the UNESCO sectors.

'The extraterritorial nature of that policy and its direct impact on the interests of third countries are deepened,' he pointed out.

On the other hand, international stability and peace are indispensable conditions for the success of UNESCO's work all over the world, including the results of the ongoing reform, Leon added.

Regarding that process, he mentioned as a priority the strengthening of UNESCO in the field, 'where the Organization adopts its true value for girls, boys, youths, women and men'.

He went on to say, 'We support the efforts to equip the Organization with the necessary human and financial resources, so this year we honor again the contribution to UNESCO's budget in an early date and we make modest voluntary contributions during the current biennium'.

The ambassador also referred to the ties between Cuba and the Organization, which 'have been consolidated significantly over the past few months' by the visits to UNESCO's headquarters by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

'They held meetings with the director general (Audrey Azoulay) and reaffirmed the excellent state of bilateral relations,' he noted.

Leon recalled that 2019 marks 500 years of the foundation of Havana, one of the anniversaries to which UNESCO is associated in the current biennium and 'another opportunity to promote the imprint of this Organization in the lives of Cuban women and men.'

  • Published in Culture
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