Saturday, January 10, 2009
Rum is the Latest Weapon Against Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is a magnet for protesters. The retail giant has been charged with everything from destroying the mom and pop store to union busting.
Add to the list Yankee Imperialism against rum from Cuba and Venezuela.
Wal-Mart is in the midst of a $2.66 billion takeover bid for Distribucion y Servicio D&S SA, a large grocery retailer in Chile. Now competitors of D&S and members of the Chilean legislature are charging that if the Wal-Mart acquires the stores it will blacklist products from up to 15 countries that have poor relationships with the United States.
The allegations include charges that D&S managers have already been told products from Iran, North Korea and Sudan will no longer be sold at the store. High on the list of potentially banned products are Havana Club and Varadero from Cuba and Diploamtico and Pampero from Venezuela. News reports claim prices on the offending rums have already been cut in a pre-Wal-Mart clearance sale.
Chilean Rep. Eugenio Tuma and Rep. Rodrigo Gonzalez have called for an investigation of Wal-Mart saying that if the allegations are true it would not only restrict free trade, but also damage Chile's sovereignty.
D&S controls about a third of the Chilean grocery market. Wal-Mart is based in Bentonville, Ark., and operates stores in 14 countries, including Brazil and Argentina.