The citizens of Nicaragua have been living in a time of extreme political unrest. Since April 2018, the people have taken to the streets to protest the government’s taxation and criminal justice system.
As the days became weeks, and weeks into months, several Nicaraguans have lost their lives as police clash with protesters. However, the anti-government movement continues to grow strong. Most of the protesters march peacefully. In recent, protesters have effectively shut-down the Pan-American Highway in Nicaragua by stopping approximately 6,000 delivery vehicles.
The recent developments have begun to have an impact on the premium cigar industry. Nicaragua is the largest exporter of cigars to the United States. In many ways, Nicaraguan tobacco reigns supreme in the American cigar industry. Thus, the blocked roadways have nearly halted shipping and delayed the production of premium cigars.
As we witness this situation unfold, we are sadden and hope for a speedy resolution to this issue in Nicaragua. From sheltering exiled Cuban tobacconists to its rich fertile soil, the country and its people have contributed so much to the growth and success of our industry. Its citizens deserve a right to free speech and justice!
Update: On June 14th, Asociación Nicaragüense de Tabacaleros (ANT), a collaboration of the major cigar manufacturers in Nicaragua, decided to participate in a national labor strike day. The organization cited worker safety as the motivating factor in the decision. Industry giants, such as Padron, JC Newman, Oliva, Drew Estate, My Father, Rocky Patel, and others are members of ANT. Operations are expected to return on June 15th.