This commentary was originally written by Ferdinand Piet of Ministry of Cigars; sadly due to heavy anti-smoking laws in Singapore, he was forced to close one of the leading Cigar Industry BLOG sites in the world down
A thank you to Fidel Castro.
Before you get angry before you start cursing and screaming that we are communists of libtards, hold your breath. Keep reading. We are aware of the atrocities of the Castro regime, about their disrespect for human rights. We aren’t fans, not of the communist ideology. And not off Castro, Che Guevara, and the other leaders of the revolution, may they burn in hell forever. Hear us out before you close this article.
Fulgencio Batista was a horrible dictator, backed by the United States. And Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew his government in 1959. Now, we honestly believe Casto had good intentions when he started the revolution. But power corrupts, and the 60-year reign of the Castro clan has proven to be even more violent and oppressive than the Batista regime.
After the revolution, an exodus took place. When all businesses were nationalized, and stolen from the owners a lot of knowledgeable, experienced entrepreneurs left or were forced to leave. Others got imprisoned. And that still happens, Cubans still risk their lives to get out of Cuba. There are plenty of stories about escaping Cuba, both inside the cigar industry and outside the cigar industry.
Imagine what would have happened to Cuba without the revolution. Dictators never last, Batista would have been gone anyway. Maybe even under pressure of the United States, even though they backed him. For example, Panamanian military leader Manuel Noriega was backed by the CIA and removed from office by an American invasion too. Saddam Hussein was backed by the USA as well, and we all know what happened there. As dictators often get too cocky and bite the hands that feed them, it’s a pretty safe bet that Batista would have stepped on toes, and would have lost his American backing at some point.
WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
So what would have happened without the nationalization and the exodus? Cuban cigar companies would still be privately owned. And there would be competition amongst them. Pushing them to be better. Farmers would get fair prices for their crops and would be able to maintain the soil. Cuban cigars would be pushed to their full potential, something they far from reach now. So if you read this, why would anybody thank Fidel Castro? He didn’t do the Cuban cigar industry a favor. But…
Without Fidel Castro, there would be no Cohiba. According to history, one of Castro’s bodyguards rolled the cigar. Castro took it from him, smoked it and loved it. It became his personal blend. And from that a diplomatic gift, and in 1982 a regular production brand. And it grew to become the flagship of the Cuban cigar industry. The story of Trinidad shares some of the history, as they are post-revolution cigars that were made as diplomatic gifts before being released commercially. So that’s worth a thank you.
NEW WORLD CIGARS
But it’s not all. Without the revolution and the exodus, people like Josè Padron, the Quesada family, Benji Menendez and many more legends would not have left Cuba. And it’s safe to say that even people who left decades after the revolution, such as Jose Don Pepin Garcia, would still be working in Cuba. It was that exodus, the mass immigration from Cuban cigar manufacturers and tobacco farmers that fueled the new world cigars. To be honest, the embargo of 1962 helped as well.
It was the Cuban immigrants that brought their knowledge and tobacco seeds to the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Mexico, and other places to reboot their companies. Either as tobacco farmers, others as cigar manufacturers. It took years to take off, but slowly but surely the quality of tobacco and cigars increased. And nowadays, tobacco and cigars from the New World countries rival, and often outshine the quality from Cuba.
PADRON, FUENTE, AND OTHERS
In the new countries, there’s competition. That forces and drives people to push for the best. And it leads to innovation. Where Cuba used to be a trendsetter, they are now a follower. Where Cuba used to be the best, and there’s no discussion about that, they are no longer. And it drives quality up, quality of tobacco, of the cigars. Plus it provides food on the table for hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America. Without the Cuban revolution, there would be more poverty in Latin America. Foundations such as Pronica and the Cigar Family wouldn’t exist, providing education in those poor countries.
Without the Cuban revolution, the cigar industry in Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic would be nothing compared to now. We, cigar smokers, would have missed out on some of the tastiest tobaccos that we know now. There would be no Padron, no Fuente, no My Father, no Perdomo. We can go on and on, naming great cigars that would not exist without the Cuban revolution. It fueled the cigar industry outside of Cuba. And for that, and that only, we thank the tyrant Fidel Castro.