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Bacardi linked to CIA and Mafia plots to overthrow Castro

LONDON - A new book claims that executives of the Bacardi rum company were involved in a series of plots to oust Fidel Castro as president of Cuba in an effort to regain control of national assets.

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"Bacardi, the Hidden War", by the Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina, explores a long-running campaign by Bacardi executives to influence political events in Cuba.

Bacardi, the world's largest selling rum, was originally distilled in Cuba in the late 19th century. In 1960, after Castro's communist government took over, the company, along with other privately-owned interests, was nationalised and the founding family fled taking the Bacardi brand name with them.

Ospina's book outlines a history of alleged attempts, dating from the 1960s, by Bacardi to oust Castro.

These include a plan to bomb Cuba's oil refineries, a plot to assassinate Castro, involving the CIA and the mafia, as well as more above-board tactics, such as the creation of the Cuban American National Foundation in 1981. In 1996, Bacardi figures backed a law that banned foreigners from investing in companies that had been nationalised by Castro.

Bacardi is by far the leading rum brand, with 51% share of the market in the US -- far ahead of rival brands Malibu and Captain Morgan. Bacardi's famous bat brand symbol can still be seen around Havana.

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