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Jose Bosch, former head of Barcardi rum

Published Oct. 6, 2005

Jose M. Bosch, longtime head of the Bacardi rum empire, died at his home in Coral Gables. He was 95.

Mr. Bosch, who died Sunday, is credited with increasing the production of Bacardi rum after Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959 and took over the plant that Mr. Bosch was directing, said his son, Jorge.

At the time, the Bacardi company also had factories in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

After leaving Cuba in 1960, Mr. Bosch headed the company from Nassau and established new factories in Nassau, Spain, Brazil, Canada and Martinique, said his son. He headed the company from 1950 to 1977, when he retired.

Mr. Bosch received an engineering degree from Lehigh University in New York state. He married into the Bacardi clan.

His first wife was Enriqueta Schueg Bacardi, granddaughter of company founder Don Facundo Bacardi; she died in 1975.

Mr. Bosch served as Cuba's minister of finance from 1949-52 under President Carlos Prio. He lived in Nassau until 1992, when he moved to Coral Gables. But through the years he maintained close connections with Miami's exile community.

He helped found and support some of the earliest exile activist groups in Miami. In 1964, he paid $10,000 a month to help support an organization called RECE, whose Spanish acronym meant Representation of Cubans in Exile.

Mr. Bosch enlisted a young activist, Jorge Mas Canosa, to head the organization. Mas Canosa is now chairman of the powerful Cuban American National Foundation, the largest Cuban exile lobby in the country.