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Ron DeSantis donor boasted about selling drinks to Fidel Castro

Rich Waltzer, a top donor to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign, once bragged that his company made a fortune selling drinks to Fidel Castro — and insiders say the situation is getting awkward.

According to a July 2004 Associated Press report, Waltzer, “when asked to name his beverage company’s best customer” Waltzer breezily name-dropped Cuba’s longtime dictator, who died in 2016.

“He’s paying cash up front…It doesn’t get any better than that,” Waltzer said of Castro.

Waltzer’s company, Splash Tropical Drinks of Fort Lauderdale — which has since rebranded to Procurement Systems, Inc. — sold $1 million in cola and juice concentrates, ice cream and daiquiri mixes over a four-year period under a law passed in 2000 to allow US firms sell food and agricultural products to Cuba. 

While the program had humanitarian roots, it drew scorn from Miami’s Cuban exile community — a powerful Republican enclave that has long pushed for the economic isolation of Cuba’s communist regime.


Rich Waltzer (right) — a top donor to DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign — once bragged that his company made a fortune selling drinks to Fidel Castro.
Paola Morrongiello/NYPost

While some high-profile donors like Ken Griffin and Stephen Schwarzman have moved away from DeSantis, Waltzer and his wife Brooke lately have been touting their support. 

“We spent the weekend at #steineriksonlodge in #deervalley #utah as complimentary guests of Governor DeSantis!!!!,” Brooke Waltzer posted on her Instagram account earlier this week.

“He hosted 70 of his top individual donors in the country. We rank #6 in Florida and #17 for the country.”


Rich Waltzer and his wife Brooke lately have been touting their support for Gov. DeSantis.
Rich Waltzer and his wife Brooke lately have been touting their support for Gov. DeSantis.
Brooke Waltzer Instagram

While it’s unclear exactly how much money the couple donated, the fact that DeSantis has accepted cash from someone who did business with the Cuban government is rankling some Floridians, insiders told On The Money.

“It is absolutely concerning that one of Ron DeSantis’ top bundlers has openly bragged about profiting off of Fidel Castro and his communist regime,” GOP fundraiser Caroline Wren told On The Money.

“Governor DeSantis is absent from Florida amid an insurance crisis — fundraising from a man who worked hand-in-hand with a government that oppressed hundreds of thousands of Floridians,” Wren said. 

While Waltzer’s wife is pushing their GOP donor bona fides, he hasn’t always advocated for Republican candidates. In 2009, he spoke at a policy event encouraging attendees to donate to Democrats in the hopes they would end the embargo on Cuba.

Waltzer has also donated to the New Cuba PAC which advocates ending any embargo on trade with the communist regime. 

The Deer Valley event hosted by DeSantis in Park City, Utah, earlier this week raised eyebrows among the fundraising class who felt it was egregious to spend money on a resort stay the same week DeSantis is firing staffers to save campaign cash. 

“It’s ironic to now hear DeSantis is scaling back spending the same week he hosts a $90,000 event at a five-star Deer Valley resort,” Wren added.

A spokeswoman for DeSantis didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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