Why Cohiba?

Why Cohiba?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

Let Us Tell You A Story… IT WAS THE EARLY 1960s: the world watched as the USSR, the United States, and Cuba were locked in a deadly Cold War.   Many of Cuba’s profitable industries and valuable resources had long been controlled by large American corporations. The leaders of Cuba’s Revolution, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, wanted to take back control of their nation’s resources so as to return the profits to the local people. Castro began nationalizing all industries to thwart imperialist control. In retaliation the U.S. implemented heavy sanctions, limiting crucial trade between Cuba and the outside world. In the midst of the uprising and upheaval of a whole sociopolitical system, the Cuban economy  declined as Castro’s ideologies began to isolate Cuba from international support. Castro realized he needed to stimulate his economy by drawing the world’s attention to a unique Cuban resource, and trademark it. And that’s when the penny dropped: If Castro was the face of the Cuban Revolution, his cigar would be its emblem. One evening a bodyguard of Fidel’s shared some of his private supply of cigars with the leader. Castro himself recalls the tale like this: “I used to see the man smoking a very aromatic, very nice cigar, and I asked him what brand he was smoking. He told me that it was a special blend, but that it came from a friend who makes cigars and he gave them to him. I said, let’s find this man.” The man’s name was Eduardo Ribera, and the cigars pleased him so much that Castro sought out the cigar maker. Ribera told him what blend he used, which tobacco leaves he used and from which plantations, until they had enough information of their own to assemble a team of cigar makers, set up their own factory and begin production in 1966. It was a special blend, at the time unbranded. It was produced under conditions of tight security, as Castro was increasingly paranoid of sabotage (In fact, the technical services department of the American Intelligence Agency is now known to have worked on the development of exploding cigars as a means of assassination from the early 1960s.) Fidel appointed Guevara as Minister of Industries, and had him oversee his cigar house, named El Laguito Factory. He was tasked to create this new super-premium blend that differed from all previously existing Cuban cigars: one that could be a dignified symbol of Cuban pride and prosperity. But what were they going to call this cigar? “What’s in a name?” When the Spanish expedition, commanded by Christopher Columbus, arrived in Cuba in 1492 they saw tobacco for the first time in the New World. The Taino natives of the region, the first original inhabitants of Cuba, rolled and burned mysterious leaves which they called “Cohiba”, in an unknown ceremony for these newcomers. The word derived from the...

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