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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 3)

CA: Did you ever stop growing tobacco in Cuba during that period before the revolution?

Padrón: No. Throughout the 1940s and '50s, we kept growing tobacco and supervising the quality of the tobacco that was being grown.

CA: What was your life like in the late '50s before Castro came in, and then what changed that caused you to leave?

Padrón: Around 1952 our family was buying tobacco in the entire area of Pinar del Río. We had a contract with the H. Upmann factory for picking, curing, sorting and deveining the tobacco. They made Montecristos, among other brands.

CA: What happened after that?

Padrón: After the revolution and Fidel, there was a problem with the tobacco industry: they took it. In 1959, during the revolution, our farm totaled about 250 acres. That land got nationalized. One part was taken to raise geese.

CA: How did it happen; did someone knock on the door? The soldiers came, the police came, the mayor came? Who?

Padrón: I really don't know because by then I was already gone; but they took it. They left us with about five acres.

CA: When did you come to America?

Padrón: I left in 1961, but I was no longer in the Pinar del Río after the revolution because I was in Havana trying to leave Cuba.

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