Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd around the world, and Nicola Carruthers writing in The Spirits Business highlighted companies with initiatives to protect the environment and support sustainable development. According to Carruthers, "in 2018, Bacardi teamed up with environmental charity Lonely Whale to clamp down on single-use plastic and eradicate one billion plastic straws by 2020. The Future Doesn’t Suck campaign saw Bacardi remove “non-essential”, non-recyclable single-use plastic across its global supply chain."
.@BACARDI is donating 12,000 bottles of hand sanitizers to police and fire departments in Coral Gables, Hialeah, Homestead, Miami and other areas in South Florida. pic.twitter.com/pHYUOR7Ivr— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) April 27, 2020
Bacardi shifted some of its production last month to produce hand sanitizer in response to COVID-19, much of which is being given to police, nurses, non-profits and others battling coronavirus on the frontlines. The company has also set up a $ 3 million dollar fund to provide financial support, meals and other necessities to help bar owners and bar staff impacted by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, in Cuba there is a crackdown underway for those who are providing independent information on the situation on the ground. Independent journalists are jailed for doing their job. Amnesty International has issued a second urgent action for "63-year-old independent journalist Roberto Quiñones Haces." He was "imprisoned on 11 September 2019 for “resistance” and “disobedience”, remains in the Provincial Prison of Guantánamo in concerning sanitary conditions, according to reports. His family stated he has also developed health conditions, which may put him at increased risk in face of COVID-19."
Amnesty International is demanding that "Cuban authorities to immediately and unconditionally release [ Roberto Quiñones ] and other prisoners of conscience in the country, amid grave fears over the spread of COVID-19 in Cuba’s prisons." Independent journalists have broken important stories in the past such as the Cuban government's 2012 response to the cholera outbreak that netted independent journalist Calixto Martinez prison time and recognition as a prisoner of conscience. In 2018, Julio Batista was the winner of the King of Spain Journalism Award for his reporting on pollution from Cuba's main rum distillery in a long 2017 investigative piece titled "The dead waters of Havana Club". (An English excerpt of the report is included below.)
Sadly, the communist takeover of Cuba's main rum distillery, and taking of Havana Club from "the Arechabala Family on June 1, 1960 at gun point ended a family rum-making business that had started in 1878 in Cuba. The Arechabala family lost everything and was forced to flee their homeland, with a scant few of their remaining possessions – the precious Havana Club recipe being one of them.
|Since the 1980s, liquid wastes have been a major problem for the Ronera. Photo Julio Batista.|
|Ronera Santa Cruz produces 60 million liters per year. More than half are Havana Club products.|