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An Interview With Carlos Toraño

President, Central American Tobacco Corp.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Bill Murray, Nov/Dec 2004

(continued from page 3)

Q: That's terrible.

A: Probably there has never been in the history of the Dominican Republic somebody who loved the Dominican Republic more than my father did. He would have been the happiest man to have seen what happened to the Dominican Republic during the 1990s. He was in love with the Dominican Republic. He believed the Dominican Republic would have been bigger than Cuba.

Q: Your dad died in what year?

A: 1970.

Q: Now where were you at this time?

A: At that time I was working with Litton Industries in Miami, selling new computer systems. My Uncle Jaime died in 1974 and my cousins took over, but my cousin Jimmy also had a heart attack and suffered cancer. So he said the family should all get together again, be one company. [He said,] "I need your help." I was very close to my cousins, so I said yes. And that's how I got involved in May of 1974, and it was basically in the growing area. So we went to the Dominican Republic, we went to Costa Rica and we got involved very closely in Mexico and then in Ecuador.

Q: That explains your tobacco-growing business, but today you're involved in making cigars. Can you tell me about the creation of your company, Central America Tobacco Corp.?

A: In the beginning it was Toraño & Co. Due to legal situations and economic situations, in 1980, '81, it changed to A.S.P. Enterprises Inc.

Q: Central America Tobacco was part of A.S.P.?

A: Actually, Central America Tobacco really was a creation of Alfredo Perez [the founder of A.S.P.]. And the original members of Central America were Alfredo Perez, Silvio Perez, myself and my two cousins. During the 1980s, the two cousins leave the company, so we divide Central America from A.S.P. and we eventually went our separate ways. Central America Tobacco was really, really small.

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