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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 4)

CA: How many bales of tobacco were you processing every year?
Martín: I'd say, altogether, about 5,000 bales, between Central America and the Dominican Republic. In 1971, we also started growing wrapper tobacco in Nicaragua.

CA: Did you have any partners?
Martín: I had three partners: P. M. Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Bermejo--who works with JR Tobacco now--and Rene Garcia Pulido.

CA: Were Garcia Pulido and Bermejo Nicaraguan or Cuban?
Martín: They were both Cuban.

CA: Where was the wrapper operation in Nicaragua?
Martín: In Estelí. It was natural wrapper and it was beautiful.

CA: Which cigar companies were you selling to?
Martín: Mostly Consolidated Cigar.

CA: Did you sell any of this wrapper to the Joya de Nicaragua?
Martín: No. That was owned by Gen. Anastasio Somoza, and they were using a Cuban-seed wrapper.

CA: Were you using Connecticut seed?
Martín: Yes. We also sold a lot to the Canary Islands' factories.

CA: Did you and your partners lose any property or business when the Sandinistas took over in 1979?
Martín: No. We had ended our partnership [in 1974], after about four years. I tried to fix the business but I couldn't. We started fighting among ourselves. We broke up.

CA: How much wrapper leaf could you grow? How many bales?
Martín: We used to grow over 2,000 bales worth, on about 200 acres. That was a hell of a business at that time.

CA: Would you ever consider going back and growing wrapper leaf again in Nicaragua?
Martín: I would like to, but I'm too old for that.

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