Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade, Raul de la Nuez, opened today the Commercial Fair within the framework of the 4th Cigar Festival Havana 2002, before some 500 personalities from 50 countries gathered at Havana’s International Conference Center.
The opening ceremony, also attended by Antonio Carricarte, Chairman of Cuba’s Chamber of Commerce; Jaime Garcia Andrade, President of Habanos S.A.; Osvaldo Encarnacion, Tabacuba’s CEO, and Abraham Maciques, Director of the International Conference Center Complex (PALCO), took place in the wake of a welcome ceremony last night that went into the wee hours of the morning in centennial San Francisco Square at San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress.
A fine-arts exhibit entitled “Smoking Is A Pleasure” was unveiled on the premises of the International Conference Center -featuring works of such Cuban painters as Zaida del Rio. In the same breath, five mailing stamps -each for every anniversary of Vegas Robaina cigar brand- were officially shown to the public. As a matter of fact, the 4th Cigar Festival is devoted to that particular brand this time around.
Technical gatherings opened their sessions Tuesday morning and broached such issues as Production of Black Tobacco in Cuba, presented by famed researcher Eumelio Espino. Other topics tackled in the event: cover screens for that particular kind of tobacco crop, integrated termination of tobacco’s plagues and the outcomes of several case studies.
Some 50 expositors from the world’s seven largest markets for Cuban cigars are attending the fair, a 7% increase as compared to last year’s event, according to sources close to the organization committee. Some of the attendees represent entities bent on doing scientific research on Cuban tobacco; machinery and part makers; manufacturers of cases, boxes, bales and accessories, as well as publishers from specialized periodicals and magazines.
The first day of the event at the International Conference Center was wrapped up with the raffle of a box of Vegas Robaina cigars and a sommeliers’ get-together that was held during a lunch break with a view to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Fonseca Cigars brand and promote Fonseca’s mini-sized cigars.
On Wednesday, there’s a scheduled tour to tobacco plantations in Pinar del Rio and a very special layover at the realms of Alejandro Robaina in the so-called Cuchillas de Barbacoa over San Luis’ mountainous tobacco croplands, just a few miles from the capital of that province in Cuba’s westernmost region.
This annual meeting that gathers those seeking the perfect smoke, kicked off last night with a combination of Cuba’s traditional cuisine and good music in colonial-style Old Havana. The event will come to an end this upcoming Friday with a deluxe dinner in the building housing the Cuban collection at the National Museum of Fine Arts.