US, Cuba Relations 2015: End of Cuba Embargo May Bring Lawsuits,
Competition to Miami’s Tobacco Industry
By Jaclyn Diaz (email@example.com)First Posted: Feb 08, 2015 11:51 AM
The recent effort by President Obama to normalize diplomatic relations
with Cuba has sparked plans for fewer restrictions on travel, business
and banking for Americans.
The renewed push to normalize diplomatic relations has cigar fans
excited as the end of the embargo may allow for Cuban cigars to be sold
legally in the U.S.
However, those involved in the tobacco industry in Miami are not so
excited at the prospect. They fear their business may flatline if Cuban
cigars become legal in America.
When Castro took over in Cuba, he also seized the tobacco farmers’
fields. Many farmers fled, making U.S. their home and recreating their
old cigar businesses in Miami. The expats found prosperity in Southern
Florida where their product is extremely popular.
Despite settling in their new homes in the U.S., the Cuban government
has gone after countless American cigar makers and vendors in court for
developing their own Cuban cigars.
According to Voxxi, “There are $100 million wrongful death lawsuits, $50
billion hostile corporate takeovers, smuggled tobacco seeds, and
suspicions that Cuba is already secretly circumventing the embargo with
The Cuban government has specifically gone after these businesses in
preparation for the day the embargo between the U.S. and Cuba might end.
Businessmen like José “Pepe” Montagne could face a bombardment of new
lawsuits and cheaper competition, both of which could bankrupt him and
“This is more than my business. It’s my passion, my life,” he said
to the Miami New Times. “I’m fighting against an entire country! It’s
like a house cat trying to fend off a hungry lion.”
So far, the new rules allow American travelers to return with up to $400
in Cuban goods. Only $100 of that can be used for tobacco and alcohol
for personal use. Importing for commercial use is far from happening,
according to Newsweek.
For now, Miami’s cigar industry is safe.
Source: US, Cuba Relations 2015: End of Cuba Embargo May Bring Lawsuits,
Competition to Miami’s Tobacco Industry : US News : Latin Post –