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An Interview With Pedro Martín

Pedro Martín, the founder and owner of Tropical Tobacco.
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Orlando Hernandez, Mar/Apr 99

(continued from page 12)

I think a lot of people are beginning to notice that the differences between Cuban cigars and cigars [made in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras] really are not that huge, and the prices are just unbelievable. We went to Geneva to conventions and I saw the Cuban people were there. They had some people making cigars there. It was a beautiful show. But then, we had a dinner, and everybody went. I had about 30 cigars in my pockets and gave them away to people around me. Then the Cubans gave cigars to everybody, including Partagas and Romeo y Julieta. They were lousy. They were very crappy. I am Cuban and I didn't know what to say, because I don't like to talk against my country, my motherland. So, people started smoking the Cuban cigars, and then later on, some of the people I gave cigars to came around to me and pulled out my cigar, saying it was better than the Cuban. Imagine that. I don't think my cigar is going to be better than a good Cuban cigar. A good Cuban cigar is still better than my cigar, no question about it. Not just my cigar, but any cigar; a good Cuban cigar is better. But these were lousy Cuban cigars.

CA: Do you think U.S.-focused manufacturers have an opportunity to build a market for their cigars in markets that traditionally have been dominated by the Cubans?
Martín: I would say so.


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