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"I am the smoker of the fine Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne Torpedo cigar, they are a medium to mild smoke. I buy them at Doc James Cigar & Golf in Shrub Oaks NY...." Ira

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How the Cuban Cigar was Transformed into a Newer and Superior Product

People all over the world have enjoyed Cuban cigars since the latter part of the 1800s. After Cuba became an independent country, Cuban immigrants began to open up cigar shops in the southern part of Florida. These immigrants rolled and manufactured their own quality cigars. In order to fulfill the needs of numerous American smokers, cigar manufacturers and shops existed in both Cuba and in America. Naturally, tobacco leaves from Cuba were processed in Cuba for exportation to America, but America also imported Cuban tobacco to use in cigars that were produced within the United States. This continued until Fidel Castro became the leader of Cuba during the 1959 Communist revolution. The Cuban government passed a nationalization law on September 15, 1960, that virtually halted tobacco production in Cuba.

Numerous stories exist about atrocities that took place during this period. For instance, the Cuban militia sealed the main safety deposit box at H. Upmann and forbade shop owners from walking into their own manufacturing plant. All financial institutions were frozen by the Cuban government. At this point in time, the majority of Cubans who owned their own cigar shops or companies left the country.

Many who lagged behind left Cuba after President John F. Kennedy officially approved the 1961 embargo. This law forbade Americans to buy Cuban cigars and some other items manufactured in Cuba. Pierre Salinger, President Kennedy's press secretary, obtained 1,000 H. Upmann Petit Coronas right before President Kennedy signed the embargo act. A number of tobacco plantations in Cuba ceased to exist at this time, and Cuban farmers had to resort to growing crops that included rice and sugar cane plants. Because of this event, the Cuban cigar industry barely exists today.

After leaving Cuba, many of the cigar manufacturers began to smuggle tobacco seeds from Cuba to other countries. Some of these countries, such as the Dominican Republic, included areas that did not have any previous history of producing cigars. Other Cuban cigar manufacturers departed from Cuba and moved to Nicaragua or Honduras, and they used their skills to start new companies.

In 1961, Jose O. Padrón left Cuba after Fidel Castro seized his tobacco plantations. He resided in Spain for a short period, and then he performed various menial jobs in New York City before taking his savings and moved to Miami. Mr. Padrón used his money and talent to open a store in Little Havana. He supplied patrons of his shop with approximately 200 hand-rolled cigars every day. In 1970, Mr. Padrón opened the Tabacos Cubanica company in Estelí, Nicaragua. This area is currently the tobacco plantation region in Nicaragua. Estelí's good soil and weather conditions were similar to the Pinar del Rio province in Cuba, which was the area in which his tobacco farms previously thrived. People can still buy Padron cigars that are manufactured in this area.

Cigars produced in these countries are now better than the average Cuban cigars. The superiority of these non-Cuban produced cigars is due to quality tobacco leaves and experienced workers who understand the detailed work involved in manufacturing superb cigars. Currently, in spite of the erroneous concept that Cuban cigars are superior products, people appreciate smoking cigars that are the result of 40 years of accomplishment. When, and if, the Cuban embargo comes to an end, numerous veteran cigar smokers are going to acknowledge the fact that Dominican, Nicaraguan and Honduran cigars are some of the best products available anywhere in the world.

COMMENTS

Dear sirs,

I've just read your statements on cigars and It seems that you are misinformed about the Cuban cigar. That you are, is one thing, but that you are misinforming the young generation, is simply wrong. you should tell eveyone the thruth. That the fact that the rest of the world smokes the Cuban cigar is one thing but that you don't know that is another. You are like some Americans who just don't want to addmit the fact that the Cuban cigar is the best tobacco in the world . THAT is a fact. the rest is just a curiousity item. Just like the Dutch cigars used to be in the late 19th century. NOT the fact that "We were brought up with the cuban cigar and don't have the opportunity to try any other" THAT is not true.

Amicalement,
Guy Buscema,
Calvisson; FRANCE