Thursday, September 25, 2008
And now for something completely different: good news from Cuba. If you are a cigar smoker ...
The huge State-controlled conglomerate that has a monopoly on Cuban cigars, Habanos SA, has confirmed that it has enough tobacco leaves in reserve to cover demand for premium cigars for the next year – despite the damage inflicted by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
A spokesman for Habanos, Manuel Garcia, told Reuters that the storms had destroyed as many as 3,414 barns in Pinar del Rio while damaging a further 1,590. The barns are used to dry and cure the harvested tobacco before the leaves are sent off to factories for rolling.
"We think that for at least the next year we should not have great difficulties with the supply of cigars because luckily for us, we have a reserve of raw material," Mr Garcia said.
For the record, Habanos SA is a joint (and highly profitable) venture between the Castro regime and Altadis, a multi-national tobacco manufacturer that is part of the British-based Imperial Tobacco group.