By: Chilled Magazine / March 5, 2018
Inspired by the true story of the Arechabala family, “Amparo” portrayed the exile journey faced by the original owners of Havana Club Rum and reaffirmed its longstanding Cuban legacy. Combining education and entertainment, the experience was packed with history, high drama, live music and dancing and bespoke cocktails.
Beginning with a cocktail reception at a nearby cigar shop, guests were treated to signature Havana Club cocktails—the Havana Café and Canchanchara—with live entertainment from Cuban musicians, Michelle Fragoso & Band. As they embarked on their journey, guests, who included Amparo Arechabala and her daughter Paola Arechabala Consuegra, were then divided into five groups and led down Calle Ocho to Ball & Chain by in-character tour guides. Upon arrival at Ball & Chain, guests were transported to pre-revolution Cuba and the truth of the Arechabala family story.
The actual heart and sou—the spirit of Havana Club Rum—was transported through time into the story of “Amparo.” This was clear in the fact that as the audience encountered different parts of the story, so did they taste the rum that carried it. Guests had several opportunities to taste various Havana Club cocktails, including the Havana Especial, Havana Café, Havana Club Añejo Clásico Neat, Canchanchara, and the Airmail—each specifically tied to the storyline.
Along the journey, travelers experienced pivotal moments in the Arechabala family story that have defined the exiled Havana Club Rum brand. These emotionally charged scenes unveiled, for the first time, not only the injustices that the Cuban regime performed against the Arechabala family, but also the family’s long legacy. A legacy that the government tried to erase, but which history has recorded.
Specifically, travelers encountered a simulated strip search, a gripping imprisonment scene between the incarcerated Ramon Arechabala and free Amparo Arechabala, an elderly Ramon sharing his beloved rum recipe with the audience and more. Central to the experience, travelers followed Ramon Arechabala, who managed to take his family’s rum recipe with him, out of Cuba. Ramon shared that recipe, along with the Arechabala family’s long legacy, with Bacardi to ensure a future for what his family had made and what had been stolen from them. With “Amparo,” Bacardi is honoring that legacy.
The cast, crew, and creative team behind “Amparo” are all deeply rooted in Cuba. The “Amparo” experience was particularly meaningful to them as they have faced similar stories of exile—many of their family members have been political prisoners, have been revolutionaries turned staunch anti-communists, and have carried Cuba with them across continents and generations.
“Amparo” was directed by Victoria Collado, a Cuban-American, who is currently the Assistant Director of John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons on Broadway. The performance was written by playwright, Vanessa Garcia, author of White Light, one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015 and an International Latino Book Award recipient.
This limited engagement run of “Amparo” is the first-time private audiences witnessed the true story behind Havana Club Rum. The theatrical performance will next travel to New York, where it will showcase again privately in April. “Amparo” is expected to expand to consumer audiences later this year to continue raising awareness for the Arechabala family and further educating the public on what it means to be “Forever Cuban.”
About Vanessa Garcia
Vanessa Garcia is a writer and mulit-media artist