Tobacco farmer Juan Gomez embodies the "old school" methods of Cuba's legendary cigar-tobacco industry. Like other farmers, Gomez grows his own leaf and sells to the state monopoly. Cuban cigars are considered among the world's finest and are prized by connoisseurs, regardless of their political persuasion.
White House press secretary Pierre Salinger said that one evening in April 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy asked Salinger to buy about a thousand Petit Upmann cigars before the next morning. The next day, with the cigars safely in hand, Kennedy signed the embargo banning Cuban products from the United States, Salinger said.