The case renders an extensive picture of the Cuban Cigar Industry. It attempts to provide us with an understanding of the Cuban history, tumultuous relationship with United States and the impact on the Cuban economy thereof, along with the process of cigar-making and the major players.
The Cigar industry is an indispensible part of the Cuban culture and folklore with a major bearing on its economy. With Christopher Columbus discovering indigenous tobacco in 1492, Cuba became known for its tobacco production. The 1959-1962 Revolution saw outing of President Batista and Fidel Castro took over. He nationalized the Cigar industry and about $1 billion of US-owned property resulting in US blockade on Cuba. Most key players in the industry fled to other countries, with the remainder fleeing when President Kennedy initiated the trade and financial embargo in 1962, which prohibited the sale of Cuban cigars, among other items, in the US. Cuba, then, adopted command economy and became dependent on Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuban economy went through a major economic crisis for almost a decade until the government implemented “Special period in Peace time” program. Still, industry infrastructure is poor and investment resources are in short supply and though Cuba’s economic recovery has started, there are still many problems to be tackled.
Following the Cuban revolution, many key players and workers fled the country. They took with them the Cuban tobacco seeds, knowledge, skill and expertise to cigar-making and production, opening doors to competition. Moreover, the US is one of the largest markets for cigars in the world today but the US embargo restricts the sale of Cuban products there. Though the industry has survived without the US market over the past forty years, whether it can sustain in today’s marketplace, in the light of Cuba’s political upheaval and fragile economy, requires a