The 11th Habano Cigar Festival ends Friday. More than 1,000 participants from 70 countries have been attending the festivities this week, Juventud Rebelde reported. I went to the bash one year and saw Fidel Castro and the late musician Compay Segundo together on stage during a cigar auction. Compay was smoking a fat cigar. Not Fidel, of course. He quit years ago.
A Cuban woman smokes at an outdoor cafeteria along the shore east of Havana.
Three hurricanes slammed Cuba in 2008, causing at least $10 billion in damage. Tobacco growers were among those hit hard. But they are recovering and expect one of their best harvests in years, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
"To produce the best tobacco in the world you have got to have the soil that we have here," grower Francisco Milan told the news agency.
The late Gregorio Fuentes lights up. He was Ernest Hemingway's boat captain. He was smoking - and drinking - every time I saw him.He must have done something right because he lived to the age of 104.Links:Dallas Morning News story on Cuban smoking ban, 2004More pictures of smokersCuban tobacco company has reason to light up, December 2008Cuban cigar to winner of presidential race, November 2008"It's maddness," says wife of Cuban who rolled world's longest cigar, October 2008Post-Ike, Cuban cigar makers hope to cash in on vintage stogies, September 2008