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Inside Cuban Cigars—A Talk With Cubatabaco Head Francisco Padron

Cigar Aficionado meets with Cubatabaco's top official, Francisco Padron, to discuss Cuba's cigar industry.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 4)

C.A.: Did you have a similar experience in Spain?
Padron: We didn't have time to find out. Do you know what has happened in Spain with the damn problem? The former president of Tabacalera thought that the most important thing for Montecristo was the name of the brand. So, they thought that we would never withdraw the brand from their market, but when the contract was up, I withdrew the Montecristo. It was a terrible political problem. Everybody all over Spain was writing about how crazy this was. So they realized the importance of Montecristo and Habano.

C.A.: So you withdrew the brand from the market?
Padron: Yes.

C.A.: Is it back now?
Padron: Yes. It was back for Christmas.

C.A.: When did you withdraw it?
Padron: Last April, more or less.

C.A.: So they had no Montecristos after that?
Padron: They had a little bit of stock left, but after that they didn't have any more. It was a terrible problem for them. So, they called us, and they signed a special contract for us to deliver.

C.A.: The reason why Montecristo and Partagas are not in France is because of the lawsuit?
Padron: No. We are putting Montecristo and Partagas back in the French market right now. Right now.

C.A.: Is mini-Montecristo coming back to France?
Padron: They are coming back to France from Spain.

C.A.: But what will Seita, the French monopoly, do? They have a large factory that isn't being used to make the mini-Montecristo anymore?
Padron: We have made a new agreement for SEITA to make a new Cohiba, a mini-Cohiba.

C.A.: When is that coming?
Padron: That will be soon. We are testing it now.

C.A.: What is the largest export market for handmade Cuban cigars today?
Padron: Spain.

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