JC Newman Cigar Co., the last operating cigar factory in “Cigar City” of Tampa, Florida, has filed a petition with the US State Department requesting permission to import Cuban tobacco grown by ” independent Cuban entrepreneurs’ in the United States. The State Department currently allows US companies to legally import coffee and a few other products from Cuba. If granted, JC Newman will be able to import the first Cuban tobacco into the United States in 60 years.
“My family has a long history with Cuban tobaccoSaid Drew Newman, great-grandson of company founder JC Newman. “From 1895 until President Kennedy imposed the Cuban embargo in 1962, my grandfather and great-grandfather imported millions of pounds of tobacco from Cuba through Tampa. Our last shipment of Cuban tobacco was the subject of a dispute decided by the Supreme Court.“
JC Newman saved his last bullet of Cuban tobacco, which is now the last pre-embargo Cuban tobacco bullet in the United States. This sixty-year-old tobacco continues to age in the basement of JC Newman’s historic El Reloj cigar factory in Ybor City.
Under the so-called Second. 515.582 program, the State Department authorizes “commercial imports of certain specified goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs“in order to”help promote [the Cuban people’s] independence from the Cuban authorities.To help support Cuban independence, JC Newman is asking the State Department to include raw tobacco grown by independent farmers in this program.
“Before the embargo, many more cigars were rolled with Cuban tobacco in Tampa than in Cuba because Tampa was home to the best cigar factories in the world,“said Newman.”Allowing the importation of raw tobacco grown in Cuba would support independent Cuban entrepreneurs and prove, once again, that better cigars can be rolled with Cuban tobacco than Cuba can.. “