A new advertising campaign from Bacardi is declaring Havana Club rum "Forever Cuban," even though it's no longer made on the island.
The campaign, which launched last month, features a 60-second video that was written, produced and directed entirely by Cuban exiles in Miami. It features Cuban-American actor Raul Esparza, best-known for his roles on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Hannibal, and is available in both Spanish and English.
In the video, Esparza recites the poem "Island Body," written for the campaign by Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco.
"Forced to leave home, but home never leaves us, where exile takes us, we remain this body made of the red earth of our island," Esparza says. "Don't tell us we're not Cuban. Wherever the world spins us, home remains in us."
The campaign was launched in advance of the 59th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution on Jan. 1, and evokes the history of Havana Club and the family that lost the distillery after the revolution.
The Cuban government seized the Arechabala family businesses, including the Havana Club distillery, without compensation in 1960. Family members were jailed and later fled the country in exile, but were able to bring the rum recipe to the U.S. where it was given to Bacardi under an agreement.
Bacardi has sold Havana Club in the U.S. since 1995, but the Cuban government has also been producing their own Havana Club rum. Bacardi officials say Cuba is producing the rum under a stolen name and says it's an "imposter."
"We recently debuted the 'Forever Cuban' campaign to reaffirm our place as the true Havana Club rum," Ned Duggan, Vice President of Rums for Bacardi, said in a statement.