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An Interview with Jose Padrón

Chairman, Piloto Cigars Inc.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Gina Gershon, Sep/Oct 98

(continued from page 14)

George Padrón: I've been in the business my whole life.

CA: In Miami?

George Padrón: I was raised in Miami along with the rest of my family.

CA: Where did you do to college?

George Padrón: I went to Florida State and the University of Miami. I graduated from Florida State in 1990 with my bachelor's and then my master's from University of Miami in 1992.

CA: Go Hurricanes. Going back to Cuba--when you were growing and processing tobacco, did you ever sell cigar tobacco to factories in the United States?

Padrón: No. I only sold to the brokers. All the business in Cuba was done through the brokers and they sold it to people outside the country.

CA: How did you feel when you were in the tobacco business in Cuba in the 1950s when Cuba had factories to make finished cigars, but they were shipping bulk tobacco to the United States where "Clear Havana" cigars were made, almost in competition with the Cuban products?

Padrón: At the time, you had to sell the tobacco. For the growers, it worked in our favor. We needed to sell the tobacco. I want to make clear that when we shipped the tobacco to Tampa, the blend was already planned out, the recipe for the cigars, if you will, was already decided upon. All they had to do was follow our plan.

CA: Tomorrow morning when you wake up, you read The New York Times, and it says the embargo has ended. What is your dream?

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