Cuba Is Trying to Settle a $276 Million Cold War Debt With Rum - Atlas Obscura
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Cuba Is Trying to Settle a $276 Million Cold War Debt With Rum

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Cuba's famous Havana Club rum.
Cuba’s famous Havana Club rum. Chris Brown

During the Cold War, when Cuba and what was then Czechoslovakia were part of the Communist bloc, the two shared business ties, which, today, linger on in the form of around $276 million in Cuban debt. 

But Cuba, these days, doesn’t necessarily have $276 million in cash lying around to settle up, so, recently, according to Agence France-Presse, the country made the Czech Republic an offer: to settle up in rum.

How much rum? According to AFP’s calculations, around 135,000 tons of rum, or enough for 130 years of Czech consumption. 

And, indeed, a Czech official told local press that it was an “interesting option,” though one that probably won’t come to pass. The Czechs, it turns out, do want some cash, or, maybe, the BBC reports, pharmaceutical drugs. 

Marketing the rum to Czech buyers is just one problem.

“These are relatively unknown brands which might be good, but we would have to advertise them and generally launch them into the market,” the country’s deputy finance minister told AFP.

Some debts take more than rum to repay.