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    Cuban specialist in Havana Club rum Michel Rodriguez, shows a sample of rum during its maturing process, at a warehouse of the factory of the Cuban rum Havana Club, in San Jose de las Lajas, in the Cuban province of Mayabeque, taken on November 22, 2013

    Giving It a Shot: Cuba Offers to Pay Off $276 Mln Debt to Czech Republic in Rum

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    Due to critically low foreign currency reserves, the Cuban government has offered to repay its Cold War era debt to the Czech Republic with rum.

    At first it might seem that booze, even a vast quantity of it, is an unlikely commodity to use to pay for $276 million in industrial equipment and military hardware that was supplied to Cuba during Cold War.

    However, Yevgeny Nadorshin, former Advisor to Russia’s Minister for Economic Development, told Sputnik that this offer may in fact present Prague with a lucrative opportunity.

    "There’s nothing funny or extraordinary about this method of debt repayment. Cuba has a deficit of currency, so why not pay with what it has in abundance?" he said, pointing out that in 1980s vodka was actively used as a form of currency within the Comecon.

    He also remarked that such a massive shipment of rum is very unlikely to trigger an outbreak of alcoholism in the Czech Republic.

    "I can hardly imagine Czech alehouses starting to serve rum instead of beer, and streets becoming filled with alcoholics, so this rum could be safely used for domestic consumption. As far as I know, Havana will have to supply a little over 23 million bottles of rum to repay its debt to Prague. A considerable quantity, to be sure, but I believe that the people of Czech Republic will be able to handle this booze bonanza," Nadorshin said.


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