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Biography of a Great Smoker Fidel Castro

As the leader of a country that is world-renowned for its tobacco plantations and cultivation for almost half a century, it is hardly surprising that Fidel Castro has become synonymous with cigars. Before 1985, Castro was seldom seen in public or photographed without one of Cuba’s finest hanging from his lips.

In the mid 80’s after 44 years of enjoying cigars, Castro gave up the cigars but admitted that he would still dream about them. Speaking to Cigar Aficionado magazine, he admitted: “I was conscious that I had not permitted myself to sleep anymore, but I was still enjoying it in my sleep.” It is apparent that a man who was operating a trade embargo with one of the biggest economies in the world still could not take his mind off smooth brown tobacco and his favourite brand of cigar: Cohiba.

Castro first came to power in the early 50s after forming a rebel committee known as ‘The Movement’ to challenge General Batista for power in Cuba. Even during these testing times whilst leading guerrilla troops in open warfare against the ruling parties, Castro still savoured his beloved cigars and wouldn’t miss an opportunity for a smoke unless his supplies had completely run dry. He even went as far as to hoard his selection cigars to ensure that he had something to smoke when celebrating a victory or consoling himself over a setback.

Unfortunately for Castro, his love of cigars became almost too well-known by his enemies as well as his friends. Alongside receiving a wide selection of cigars from supporters and admirers, Castro once received a ‘special’ cigar from his enemies in the USA. The CIA are reported to have offered Castro an exploding cigar during his visit to the United Nations in 1966. Ultimately the scheme was unsuccessful but has gone down in history as one of the world’s most infamous assassination attempts.

Castro stayed in power in his beloved Cuba until well after his 80th birthday, reigning as one of the most enduring and inspiring leaders in modern history. Although his reign has not been without controversy, mostly due to his ceaseless war with the USA; he is still widely seen as a champion of anti-imperialism, humanitarianism and environmentalism. Since 2008, Castro has retired from politics and the public eye, handing the responsibility over to his younger brother Raul.

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