SS August 2016

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36 SMOKESHOP August 2016 was probably not going to be accepted in Europe because it was too heavy a tobacco and at that time in Europe they were using lighter and thinner leaves. My father told the man, on his way back, stop in and we'll see where it goes. He did and eventually my father went to Nicaragua after being invited by this gentleman. Dad then traveled to the farms and met with President Somoza who asked my father about the tobacco and what he thought. My father said it was the second coming of Cuba, it was great tobacco and Somoza should contin- ue the project. Somoza had started this project of growing tobacco in Nicaragua but there wasn't a market for it. So Somoza basically had to create a market for it; that was the problem, be- cause it was not easy. My father saw the opportunity and for him it was a perfect thing because he was starting off here in Miami and needed tobacco. Not only did Somoza have the quantity my father needed, but he also had the quality so it was perfect. My father was actually the first person to import Nicaraguan leaf into the United States for production. SMOKESHOP: You were still producing cigars in Miami, but when did you start moving to Nicaragua? PADRÓN: Around 1970. He still had the factory here but shifted produc- tion to Nicaragua and little by little phased out the production here. It was obviously a very complicated time in Nicaragua because of the war but my dad did have the benefit in that he was not involved in politics in Nicaragua with Somoza. He was very appreciative of what Somoza did, but they never had any partnerships and that helped him tremendously during the civil war because the people knew he was not involved in politics. My dad approached Nicaragua based on the advice he got from his grandfather who said never mix busi- ness and politics. Somoza's people did approach my dad and wanted him to open up a factory with them, but he remembered the advice and said no. Besides, he liked being on his own. That was a good thing because [the revolutionaries] remembered he wasn't involved with Somoza and people respected my dad, but still the factory was burned down. It wasn't the Sand- inistas, but more like looting and such that took place during the war. He had already moved [some] tobacco into dif- ferent warehouses [when] they burned the entire factory with bales of tobacco inside as well as another warehouse, but he had spread out tobacco into other areas of Nicaragua. He was able to reopen a makeshift factory a month and a half later to get the production rolling again. SMOKESHOP: The war in Nicaragua forced many cigar makers to leave the coun- try. Did you move too? PADRÓN: Yes, we eventually opened a factory in Honduras, around 1979, because of the problems that were continuing in Nicaragua. Then when the embargo hit in 1985 we shifted all the production to Honduras and closed the Nicaraguan operation. In 1990 the embargo ended and we went back to Nicaragua. We maintained the Hon- duras factory until 2007. It just wasn't cost efficient because all of our tobaccos CIGARMAKER Q&A >

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