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viernes, enero 23, 2009

Wal-Mart: Hands Off Chile!

As if depriving worthy drinkers of Cuban Rum in the US for half a century weren't a grave enough offense and annoyance, Wal-mart has evidently decided to buy Chile's largest supermarket chain, Lider, and, that's right, cut off Chilen@s from Cuban products, including Havana Club. Basta ja!

This from HuffPo:
Recently, Chilean consumers stormed the liquor section of dozens of supermarket locations throughout Chile, snatching all the Cuban rum they could buy.

The reason for the rum rush: Wal-Mart is coming to town, and it refuses to sell Cuban products....snip

On Dec. 23, the giant U.S. retailer made a bid to control all the shares of D&S, the company that owns Supermarket Lider, Chile's largest supermarket chain. The deal is due to be finalized Jan. 22....snip

Alarms are already ringing, as Supermarket Lider workers fear that Wal-Mart may dismantle their unions or revoke their benefits. Small retailers, meanwhile, are nervous about being squeezed out of business. As economist and union advisor Luis Alberto Araya puts it, "Wal-Mart arrives preceded by a bad reputation."

But the near-certainty that Wal-Mart will take over Supermarket Lider has already caused an entirely different, unexpected casualty: Cuban rum....snip

On Jan. 3, Supermarket Lider -- which controls 34 percent of the supermarket business here --began selling its entire stock of Cuban rum at half price. In a country where demand for rum has surged over the past decade, with sales in 2007 increasing 48 percent over the previous year, Supermarket Lider's announcement led to a flood of thirsty consumers...snip

Meanwhile, Chile and Cuba have signed an agreement to facilitate trade. It remains unclear which rules Wal-Mart will have to play by: the U.S. embargo or the Chile-Cuba trade agreement.
The new Obama administration cannot act soon enough to end the Bloqueo. The blockade has had devastating consequences for Cuba and for the US, it hasn't toppled Cuba's government, and now that it's hopefully on its last gasp, it's affecting even Chilen@s who know that Havana Club, particularly in its 7 year-old iteration, is the best rum. Enough already. Enough.

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