Cuban tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina dies at age 91

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Monday, April 19, 2010

One of Cuba's leading cigar makers, Alejandro Robaina, died at the age of 91 of cancer, with which he was diagnosed last year. His death was announced by Jose Antonio Candia, spokesman for the cigar company Habanos S.A. Robaina was the only Cuban tobacco grower to have a brand of cigars named after him.

Robaina was known as the “Godfather” in Cuba. His face was seen on all sorts of advertising including the packet of Vegas Robaina cigars. Vegas Robaina’s can fetch as much as US$500 internationally.

He lived on his farm in Pinar del Rio and continued to survey his fields until the cancer began to affect him severely. During an interview with CNN in 2008 he said, "The first thing is to love the land, take care of the land." The farm he grew his tobacco on had been owned by the family since 1845, and with that land Robaina turned the plantation into a successful business with a strong reputation in the Cuban tobacco industry.

As an ambassador for Cuban tobacco, Robaina spoke out against the trade embargo enforced by the United States. He said in an earlier interview that he hoped the embargo would end in his lifetime.


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