US & World

Bacardi family story is the story of modern Cuba


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A couple of days ago, the Obama administration formally lifted travel restrictions on families in this country who wish to visit their relatives in Cuba. One Cuban family with a famous name is the subject of NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten’s new book, "Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause."

Gjelten chronicled the Bacardis’ prominence in liberal Cuban circles before the revolution 50 years ago and its long battle for control of one of its best-known brands, Havana Club rum.

Tom Gjelten: "You’ve got represented in that battle all the players that are going to be active in the post-Castro period. You’ve got European capital, you’ve got the Cuban government, you’ve got Bacardi representing exile interests, you’ve got the U.S. Congress, you’ve got U.S. Government – all the forces that are likely to come to bear in the post-Castro period are reflected in this little struggle over who gets the rights to the Havana Club trademark."

Gjelten spoke with KPCC’s Larry Mantle.