Cuba: Can We Pay Back Our Debt With Rum?

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic — The Czech Finance Ministry says Cuba has offered an unusual way of repaying its Cold War-era debt — its trademark rum.

Finance Ministry spokesman Michal Zurovec said Thursday that Cuban authorities have proposed to pay back $276 million to the Czech Republic from the time both countries were part of the communist bloc.

havana club cuba rum
A giant inflatable bottle advertising Havana Club, a brand of Cuban rum, stands on Havana's seafront boulevard "El Malecon" August 31, 2009. The brand is not sold in the U.S. (Photo: Reuters/Desmond Boylan)

If that proposal becomes reality, the Czech would have enough Cuban rum for well over a century. According to the Czech Statistics Office, the Czechs imported rum from Cuba worth over $2 million last year.

Zurovec says that the Czechs would still prefer the debt was at least partly paid in cash.

In the past, North Korea wanted to repay its $10 million debt with products made with ginseng.