Today our thoughts on Nicaragua. Our original intent was to write an article about how the new FDA regulations will effectively end our importation of Nicaraguan tobacco.*
However, recent events are putting the people of Nicaragua in danger. There has been political unrest and so far over one hundred people have died in the violence.
Let us be clear. Our primary interest is in the people. Our hopes and prayers are that no more injuries will occur. That is our primary concern.
Our secondary concern, which pales in comparison to the first, is how the happenings will affect the premium cigar industry.
Let us also be clear that we don’t like to engage in political discussions. However, we are dreamers. Tabanero Cigars was built from a dream.. We are fortunate to see that dream fulfilled each day as:
- We get the finest tobacco from around the globe.
- Have our artisans hand make it into the finest premium cigars using the old Cuban method.
- Share our cigars to those around the world.
- Be involved in the rebirth of Tampa as The Cigar Capitol of the World.
- Be a presence in our community through events that we host for you.
We are blessed to make our dreams come true. And though we are not political we stand for our dream. This why we have written about the FDA regulations. We also stand for dreamers in other parts of the world.** This is why we are writing about the events unfolding in Nicaragua.
Here is what is happening:
Daniel Ortega announced changes to the social security system of Nicaragua. In the capitol city of Managua protests erupted. The clash between the protesters and police turned violent
Cigar Aficionado magazine contacted Martinez-Cuenca, owner of Joya de Nicaragua Cigars, who was confident at that time. “There was no impact on my factory. Absolutely none. As far as I know, all the factories are operating.”
Not everyone they contacted was equally confident. “Of course we’re worried,” said tobacco producer A.J. Fernandez, “but we’re hoping that this governmental situation will be taken care of sooner rather than later.”
At that time another Nicaraguan cigar producer, Nestor Plasencia, voiced what most were thinking, “Nicaragua has already gone through a civil war and we are very confident that the dialogue between all the parties will resolve this situation.”
His thoughts were echoed by Martinez-Cuenca, “Ten years of work cannot be destroyed in one day. It’s important to realize that this was not an attempt to overthrow the government. This was a protest. A genuine expression of the people.”
It seemed that this would be the end of it. But then five days ago protesters set up an estimated 70 blockades along the main entries into Managua. This left over six thousand trucks stranded and brought to trade to a stand-still.
The Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development has estimated the country will lose 400 million in revenue and 20,000 jobs if this continues until July.
Things further developed on Friday as a strike was enacted and businesses were forced to close.
Drew Newman, general counsel for the J.C. Newman Cigar Company announced, “Following the direction of the Nicaraguan Cigar Association, our J.C. Newman PENSA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, is closed today.” He went on to say, “This is the first time that we have ever had to close our J.C. Newman PENSA factory on a work day since it opened in 2011.”
We will keep you informed as events develop.
May lives be spared, peace be reached, and dreams realized.
*75% of Nicaraguan tobacco is exported to the United States. Their tobacco is an important part of Tabanero Cigars. So, we all have a vested interest.
** It is true that people are in peril in other places around the globe that we are not discussing now. We are personally connected to Nicaragua through the cigar industry. Please know that we are concerned about suffering wherever it occurs.