Cuban Cigar News info on 27 Dec 2008 02:06 am
On a recent call with Rush Limbaugh, one caller asked when the Cuban cigar would be sold legally in the US. Here is Mr. Limbaugh’s answer from the transcript of the call:
It is going to be a long time before you will be able to get Cuban cigars legally in the United States. Even if the embargo — let’s say Barack Obama comes in and lifts the embargo, even if he does, even if he lifts the embargo, it’s going to happen in stages. The first thing he’ll lift is travel restrictions, but I don’t think he’s gonna go very quickly on opening up full-fledged trade with Cuba. But even if he did, let’s say even if he did, you have no clue what is ahead of us as cigar smokers. What will happen is that the domestic manufacturers, defined by those who are in the Dominican and in Honduras, Nicaragua, Cameroon, all of the places where elements of cigars are grown, and all the places where they’re assembled, these people have in many cases marketed the brands of the Cuban cigars you’re talking about, Hoyo de Monterrey, Punch, Romeo Y Julieta, Simon Bolivar, all of these great Cuban brands have been marketed by other owners in the United States, and they are going to go to the Commerce Department, and they’re going to say we have made these brands popular, we have invested in the product and in the brand in this country, and they’re gonna ask the Commerce Department to ban the import of competing brand-name cigars from Cuba.
The second thing that will happen is that the domestic producers I’m talking about from the people in Dominican to Nicaragua, Honduras, they are going to say we want raw Cuban tobacco to be able to blend it with our cigars. They’re gonna do everything they can to keep the Cuban cigars you want out of this country legally in a host of ways. Then we haven’t even discussed the Cuban exile community in Florida and other places they live. They are going to be all over the State Department saying, “We want our property back that Castro took from us.” They want their property back and they want their factories back, and they want their companies back, and some of them are cigars, some of them are rum. If the embargo ends tomorrow, you aren’t going to see a legitimate Cuban cigar for years in this country.
It is insurmountable, unless somebody waves a magic wand. But just stop and think of it from the competitive standpoint of all these people that have their own Hoyo, who have their own Punch cigars, who have their own Romeo, who have their own Montecristos — well, Montecristo is a different circumstance because the company that owns the Cuban Montecristo is in Spain, and they also use the brand here, so you might be able to get some of theirs in, you might be able to get a Montecristo from Cuba, but you can’t have these Cuban cigars come in. Who’s going to make the Cubans change their brands? Their brand names are older than ours. So it’s going to be a black market for quite a while. Besides, Obama smokes cigarettes.
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