Cuban Cigars are world famous. Cuba has been growing tobacco since the time of Phillip II of Spain (1527-1598) and manufacturers producing cigars in Cuba for many years. Cigar aficionados have been enjoying Cuban Cigars for many decades.
What is in a Cuban Cigar, you may wonder therefore, that makes it illegal in the United States? How did the finest cigars on the market become illegal? In fact, the penalties involved in any sort of transaction involving Cuban Cigars are strict and can include: confiscation of the cigars, fines of up to $50,000 per violation and criminal prosecution involving higher fines and/or imprisonment.
Cuban Cigars quickly became deemed ‘illegal Cuban Cigars’ when the trade embargo on all products from Cuba in February 1962 was established by President John F. Kennedy. This was an attempt to take a stand against and weaken Fidel Castro’s Regime, which was totalitarian and communist. As Castro’s revolutionaries had seized power at that time and also began seizing private property, his regime was considered a threat to democracy.
So, Cuban Cigars remain illegal because of this embargo, even though communism is not considered the threat it once was. Fidel Castro died in November 2016; but the embargo, which in essence, is a consequence of a much deeper issue, remains in place.
For the information of younger readers and in order to give a deeper insight into the origins of the Cuban Cigar ban, some information about the Cuban Missile Crisis should be helpful. This ‘Crisis’ of 1962 occurred eight months after the trade embargo. Fidel Castro allowed the Soviet Union to build nuclear missile bases in Cuba. These, if triggered, had the potential to strike at the heart of the United States with dire consequences. This incident, described in Robert F. Kennedy’s book: Thirteen Days, is the closest the world has come to an all-out nuclear war. In the event, the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev backed down when challenged by President Kennedy. After a long period of tense negotiations Khrushchev said he would remove the missiles if the the United States promised not to invade Cuba again (which they had done in the Bay of Pigs incident in 1961). With this knowledge it is easier to see how the Cuban Cigar has become a tool of political tensions.
American Intelligence made numerous attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. One of these attempts, ironically, involved trying to poison his, presumably Cuban, cigar. The combination of Cuba remaining a totalitarian communist state and the sanction of the trade embargo are factors that will prevent Americans from being able to legally enjoy fine Cuban Cigars in the future; unless, of course, Cuba changes its political status and type of government, or the United States changes its way of looking at the situation in Cuba.
To this day, Americans are not allowed to smoke or import Cuban Cigars bought in Cuba, nor purchase and import any anywhere in the world. American travellersattempting to buy any Cuban-origin tobacco products in places other than Cuba, such as: Canada, the United Kingdom or Mexico, are forbidden to do so. In the eyes of ‘Uncle Sam’, any sort of trade with Cuba is tantamount to supporting communism.