By: Kelly Luciw
With roots dating back far beyond the Cold War, the relationship between the US and Cuba has had its fair share of moments throughout history. In the late 1800s, the United States was purchasing a high percentage of Cuba’s exports, and maintained control over its sugar industry. And, during the 1950s, Havana’s popularity sky-rocketed, becoming an alluring attraction for many American celebrities and tourists.
But let’s move forward to the portion of history that clearly defined the relationship between the US and Cuba that many individuals are familiar with: the embargo. In the 1960s, cigar enthusiast, President John F. Kennedy, signed a proclamation expanding a full economic embargo, including strict travel restrictions. This, as many know, hindered the relationship between US and Cuba, and the potential for authentic Cuban premiums to ever grace the US market.
As lovers of the leaf, we often hear of all the amazing premiums that have come from Cuba or that have once had traces of Cuban roots in their making. For quite some time, those days of longing for a cigar from this region have been a mere fantasy for novices, enthusiasts, and aficionados alike.
Meanwhile, many cigar fanatics question the hysteria of Cuban cigars and whether or not they would live up to their hype in today’s market. A level of scrutiny raises the topic of whether premium cigars produced in other parts of the world (mainly Nicaragua) surpass the famed legends of Cuban premiums. And, in due time, there’s only one way to find out.
Throughout the years, discussions about political reform conjured a whirlwind of speculation about a timetable for better associations between two nations that share such a severed history. In 2015, the Obama administration announced a re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.
Today, many individuals and cigar fans around the globe have their attention turned to events of the past few months. In October of 2016, the restrictions placed on Cuban cigars and rum were lifted, allowing travelers to stock up on the famed goods — but only for personal consumption. Although those sought-after cigars can’t be delivered right to your doorstep, this is one effort that may open up many doors.
As the severed ties begin to heal between the nations, history will continue to unfold. As many representatives continue to make strides to improve relations, we throughout the cigar industry can look past all of the history that is created, and hope to see the long-awaited future of premium Cuban cigars and settle the topic amongst cigar fanatics once and for all.