The Curious Case of the Cuban Cigar
A cuban cigar is a true treat for an American here within our borders, mostly because it is entirely illegal to purchase and/or import them into the good ol’ USA.
As a cigar fan myself (and the fact that I assume many of our scotch drinking leather loving readers are as well) I have decided to investigate just why exactly we DaLuca fans here in America can’t just walk down to the local smoker’s closet and pick up what may be some of the finest cigars in the world today.
Let’s set the stage here. Cuban cigars are typically rolled from tobacco leaves found within Cuba proper, while the binder, wrapper and filler may come from elsewhere. Cigars can be rolled in any of a number of factories throughout Cuba by a group of “torcedores” (cigar rollers) who are widely respected throughout the country and throughout the world for their unquestionable skill. Sounds innocent enough, but we haven’t hit the real problem with these smokeable delicacies… Yet.
The trouble lies in the fact that all Cuban cigar production is controlled by the Cuban government, and that Cuba’s government is full of red-sworn commies and has been since 1965 when Fidel Castro and his cohorts took the reigns of the country’s destiny.
Ok, well, China is communist, too, but we still import billions of dollars of product from them annually… Right? Right. So why is it that piddly little Cuba still has a certain JFK signed embargo in effect against them? Mostly because Fidel Castro is still in power… Erh, that his family is. On February 7, 1962, John F. Kennedy (our president at the time) signed into effect an embargo against communist Cuba in an attempt to sanction Castro’s country. Sadly, cigars obviously fell under the effect of this new ruling (even though, reportedly, JFK tried to get the cigars exempted from the embargo ruling) and immediately became a forbidden fruit of sorts here in the states.
This act deprived (and continues to deprive) the Cubans of their once greatest tobacco-nabbing customer (the US) and the US became estranged from its beloved Cuban cigars.
It’s a sad state of affairs, but lament not, cigar fans. It’s not impossible for you to experience these “forbidden fruits”, as long as you are prepared to take a quick skip over our northern or southern borders into either Canada or Mexico. Our northern and southern neighbors both import Cuban cigars freely and shamelessly advertise the fact in order to make a few bucks off us cuban tobacco starved Americans.
Caution should be taken, however, as due to the inherent financial investment required to acquire such hard-to-find delicacies such as Cuban cigars. Like anything else popular and profitable these cigars are an unfortunate victim of counterfeiting. If you’re going to try one overseas, across the border or anywhere else, just remember that you get what you pay for, and be sure to do your homework before laying any American dollars down for these quality smokes.