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Tobacco workers in Cuba dubious about opening of U.S. market

 IPS 09 March 2019

Tobacco is Cuba’s fourth top export but the U.S. market has been off-limits to Cuban cigar-makers for over half a century. Yet Habanos have become a symbol of the thaw between the two countries since someone gave a Cuban cigar to U.S. President Barack Obama during a reception in the White House, a few hours after he announced the restoration of ties between Cuba and the US in December 2104. When the U.S. embargo on Cuban goods is lifted, annual sales of Habanos in the U.S. are expected to climb to at least $250 million. But Cuban tobacco workers say they will “have to wait and see” when asked about the prospect of an opening of the U.S. market to Cuban cigars. (990 Words) - By Ivet González

IPS_Tobacco workers in Cuba 1

Tobacco pickers carry leaves to one of the sheds where they are cured on the Rosario plantation in San Juan y Martínez, in Vuelta Abajo, a western Cuban region famous for producing premium cigars.Photo: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

IPS_Tobacco workers in Cuba 2

Berta Borrego in the shed where she hangs green tobacco leaves to dry. For over 30 years she has dedicated herself to that task and to selecting the dry leaves for making cigars, on the Rosario plantation in the Cuban municipality of Juan y Martínez.Photo: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

IPS_Tobacco workers in Cuba 3

A benefit auction for humidors in the Habanos Festival. The festival drew 1,650 participants from 60 countries to the Cuban capital this year.Photo: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

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