A Cuban can be many things. A Cuban can be a person from Cuba. A Cuban can be a boisterous and controversial basketball team owner. A Cuban can be a sandwich which is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and salami served on Cuban bread. But the primary thing people think of when they hear someone refer to a Cuban is a Cuban cigar.
From the advent of the cigar, Cuba has been hailed as the best place on earth to produce cigars. Due to the Cuban climate and Cuban soil, tobacco thrives there like nowhere else. The Cuban conditions are particularly amenable to the type of tobacco crop needed for premium fine cigars. Because of this, Cuban and cigar were almost synonymous for a long time in the history of cigars.
Cuban Cigar Embargo
The arc of Cigar history was altered in the 1960s. Due to political disagreement, the Cuban government and the American government were at odds with each other during this time. The Cuban government was led by communist president (dictator) Fidel Castro. The American president John F. Kennedy and his administration disagreed with the Castro’s politics and generally with the Cuban communist system.
Nationalization of Cuban Cigar Industries
The communist Cuban government also took over many of the Cuban industries. Therefore, the American government placed a trade embargo on Cuban goods. This meant that Cuban goods could not be imported into the United States. This was so that Americans were not supporting the Cuban government by buying Cuban goods.
Another byproduct of the nationalization of the Cuban industries was that the government took over the cigar industry. This caused all the established Cuban cigar companies, mostly Cuban cigar families, to flee Cuba in order to pursue their trade. So a Cuban today, is not what it once was.
Cuban Cigar Production
Although the communist Cuban government cannot control the soil and climate, the means of production are. So although the actual tobacco still may be the best it is questionable whether the Cuban government is the best “businessman” in the business today. Furthermore, those Cuban families who fled were able to reestablish themselves in other neighboring countries like Honduras and the Dominican Republic where the soil and climate are very similar to the Cuban soil and climate.
The cigars produced in these other countries are also generally made from Cuban seeds taken by the families when they fled. So it is an issue of much debate today whether the Cuban is still the premier cigar. What is not debated is that when you hear someone talking about a Cuban you can be sure they are referring to a cigar.
- Where Your Smokes Come From: Honduras (birminghamcigars.wordpress.com)