Ousted President's Return Halts Honduran Cigar Shipments

Deposed President Manuel Zelaya returned unexpectedly to Honduras Monday, prompting protests and disrupting the shipment of cigar exports.

According to a Financial Times report, Zelaya, ousted in June, is currently holed up in the Brazillian embassy where he sought asylum. The ex-president is seeking to speak with the de facto regime that spurred his ouster.

The emergence of Zelaya has inspired his supporters to protest, and today the protesters clashed with police forces in front of the Brazillian embassy.

The hysteria has affected the cigar industry, too, particularly Alec Bradley Cigar Co., which has some of its brands, including the Tempus, made in Honduras.

"All airports are temporarily closed and our shipments were scheduled to travel this morning," wrote Alan Rubin, president of the company, in an e-mail. "Also, they are not allowing trucks to cross the border into Nicaragua."

According to Rubin, production has not ceased as workers throughout the country are being permitted to go directly to work and then go home, despite reports of a day curfew.