Communist Cuba provides a perfect example of how socialism actually works: The ruling elite lives in luxury and makes all the cash off an enslaved working class forced to live in squalor. Keep that in mind the next time you light up a Cuban cigar.
Cuban government profits millions of dollars from the exportation of tobacco while farmers live in misery
The Habanos S.A. corporation, a Spanish-Cuban joint venture and the world leader in the sale of Premium cigars, recorded a profit of $507 million in 2020, according to the report from its board during a virtual meeting on the tobacco industry this past Thursday. The meeting was held in place of the Habanero Festival, which had its 23rd annual event suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Habanos S.A. has an exclusive distribution network in more than 150 countries where they sell in large volumes to China, Spain, France, Germany, and Switzerland. For the first time ever, China became the number one consumer in the world of Premium cigars from the island, according to CubaDebate.
While the government celebrates the millions earned in profit, tobacco farmers in Cuba told Radio Television Martí about the horrid conditions and the low salaries imposed on them by the state monopoly.
In San Juan and Martinez, Pinar del Rio, lowland farmer Osmani Poveda Hernandez said they face many difficulties in farming the leaf, among them the lack of equipment and supplies.
“The farmers dedicated to growing tobacco exclusively are the ones hardest hit. The state does not provide any resources; there are many producers who have given up the land because it’s not profitable. The tobacco drying houses are in terrible condition, there are difficulties with transportation, and finding fuel is extremely difficult,” said Osmani.
Recently, five cooperatives from the Lazaro Peña Tobacco Company in San Antonio de los Baños in the province of Artemisa protested in front of the town’s government and party headquarters over non-payment of their salaries, farmer Daniel Alfaro Frias explained.
“They have gone five months without getting a salary, yet the problem does not get resolved. The company says there is no money to pay them, yet all that tobacco they produced during the last harvest has been sold. The authorities talk about making millions in profit from the exportation of tobacco while not paying its workers,” said Alfaro.
Continue reading (in Spanish) HERE.