14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, 4 March 2023 — Don’t let the party stop! We’ll see later how everything is paid for. It seems like a lie. Those who have cemented a political and ideological system against free enterprise, the market, profitability and obtaining profits, do not skimp on expenses as soon as they have the opportunity to share with their hated capitalists. This time it has been shameless.
The cigar festival presented numerous examples of that double standard of Cuban Castroism. Just a hundred feet away from the luxurious hotels where the festival events such as auctions, prizes, gala dinners, concerts, etc. were held, the Cuban people suffered from the lines, blackouts, crumbling streets, uncollected garbage and other problems. It was a metaphor for the most reactionary communist system in the world that has survived for 64 years. Incredible.
The festival not only confirmed that the embargo/blockade doesn’t exist when Cuba has a competitive product and global demand, but that the splurges and ostentation of the most extreme capitalism passed like a hurricane of creative destruction through the festival organized by the communists, who had a great time with their capitalist friends.
Surprisingly, the state press published a report that offered a good idea of the dimension of the stipend. An auction of humidors to store cigars from the festival raised the record figure of 11,220,000 euros, which, according to reports, will be allocated to the Cuban public health system. We would have to ask the Comptroller General if that is true and see if it really ends up happening. It’s a lot of money, of course.
Díaz Canel attended the auction — it is not well known in what form and on what terms, but there at Pabexpo the closing of the festival was just as (or more) spectacular than the inauguration. The communist leaders wanted to have fun after two years. Five days passed in which the regime spared no expense to satisfy international lovers of the appreciated cigars, but the lines for cooking oil remain just as long, and the blackouts continue to strike like lightning. In other words, a festival like this doesn’t change the lamentable living conditions of the Cuban people.
The auction is a metaphor for how far the regime devised by Fidel Castro 64 years ago has come. According to the state press, numerous bettors participated who, in an estimated figure of a thousand attendees, witnessed the bids in euros for six lots of the most exquisite cigars of the Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo, Romeo and Julieta, Partagás and Cohiba brands. Not even in the times of the great Onassis have things this tremendous been seen.
There were also awards for the best stands at the trade fair organized during the cigar festival in a ceremony at the convention palace. The awards and special mentions for the stands, which, of course, came out of the Cuban state budget, were divided into four categories: most visited, free design, modular design and integral communication. In addition, recognition was given to the novelty of the product of the Ron Legendario Special Reservation stand. A lot of people had to be rewarded so that everyone was happy, at colossal expense.
Comercial Iberoamericana SA won the awards for the most visited stand, free design and integral communication. Free design special mentions were given to Guayaberas Cohiba Atmosphere and Brascuba SA. The modular design award went to La Estancia SA, while Havana Club International SA received the special mention of integral communication.
In addition, the Cats of Greece, the team made up of Antonis Pasparakis and Efthimios Karachristianidis, defeated Sanel Haddad and Hassan Tameemi, the Falcons of Kuwait, in the final of the fourth edition of the Habanos World Challenge, held at the palace of conventions, which also came out of the Cuban state coffers (because Habanos is the same, let no one doubt it, when it comes to paying).
And then came the gala dinner with musical performance included (plus expenses on the State’s account) with the presence of former Prime Minister Marrero, well known for his culinary faculties. The Partagás brand was honored, and it presented its new Master Line made up of three cigar band signatures: Origin, Rite and Master.
The best tribute that the communist regime could make to Partagás would be to return the company to its legitimate heirs and compensate them for the confiscation carried out in the early 1960s. But no one talked about that, not even some Catalan businessmen who attended the event, and who were unaware that Jaume Partagás was their fellow countryman. Many years have passed in favor of the communist regime, so we have to take advantage of these occasions to remember and convey the truth so that future generations know the magnitude of the horror.
With the end of the festival, the regime’s commercial economic consortium gave the order to start the sale of Cuban cigars worldwide. Habanos S.A., euphoric about the success of the product last year, wants to increase sales, and even though production has been lower than expected because the farmers prefer to grow beans since they can charge more than for the tobacco leaf, Habanos is confident about increasing the price of a luxury product that increasingly has as users the profile of those great fortunes in the world that the Castro regime considers as enemies. That’s life.
In addition to the awards, auctions and gala dinners with live musical performances, the cigar festival hosted presentations of new cigars, the International Seminar, visits to tobacco plantations, tours of the Partagás and La Corona factories and the traditional trade fair. All this was financed, partly by the attendees, but with the secure and necessary collaboration of the regime, with a high-scale marketing budget. Knowing how much that necessary cooperation of the regime received from the empty coffers of the communist state would be convenient for responsibility and transparency. Nobody believes that this type of party happens for free.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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