El Presidente

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Everything posted by El Presidente

  1. Don't let it worry you to much. Wrapper shades on their own are no indication of wrapper quality. if you have had them a while, smoke one
  2. I am glad to hear it and I would love nothing more than for NC's to push CC's to the very limit. It did not cross my mind that NC manufacturers build into marketing/pricing 40% + discounts and it makes sense. I haven't yet met a Plasencia, RP or Casa M that I would plonk down $25 on.
  3. https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/15/the-end-of-cubas-entrepreneurship-boom/ The End of Cuba’s Entrepreneurship Boom BY CAROLINE KURITZKES | JULY 15, 2019, 3:36 PM Between 2014 and 2017, just as then-U.S. President Barack Obama was working to thaw over 50 years of frozen relations between Cuba and the United States, the Havana lawyer Alfonso Larrea Barroso and his two business partners were busy making a fortune. In a span of three years, the annual revenue from Scenius, their financial services cooperative, multiplied by a factor of 10,000, skyrocketingfrom $280 to $2.8 million in total revenues. Cuban ministries and state-owned firms hired it to balance top-secret budget ledgers, U.S. Congress members and State Department officials courted them in Washington. The good times didn’t last. In June 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump curtailed Cuba-bound travel and banned U.S. commerce with enterprises owned by the Cuban military. Later that summer, Cuban authorities abruptly shut down the thriving cooperative. The closure was prompted by the government’s accusation that Scenius had provided unauthorized financial services. Larrea believes the charges are baseless. In the fall of 2017, the association sued the Ministry of Finance, the regulatory body that ordered the shutdown, and drew up an appeal that was eventually rejected. “When we asked to see the ruling in writing, they denied our request. They barely answered us. It became clear that it was fundamentally a political issue,” Larrea said. The closure of Scenius was part of a more adversarial approach to nonstate enterprise that the Cuban Communist Party has adopted the last two years, after almost a decade of private-sector development. The same month Larrea and his partners lost the cooperative, the government of Raúl Castro, Cuba’s then-president, froze the issuing of new licenses for the nation’s small business owners. The move put the brakes on 2011 policy guidelines that had sparked a sizable yet regulated private-sector boom, generating an estimated 18 percent of Cuba’s gross national income. Entrepreneurs are facing a two-front attack from a U.S. executive branch resistant to commercial and travel ties to the island, and from Cuban officials. Castro left office in April 2018, but Cuba’s new president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, seems just as determined to decelerate the island’s economic opening. As U.S. tourism and trade recede, the Communist Party has in turn abandoned diplomatic goodwill and escalated its own private-sector crackdown, leaving small-business owners scrambling. Entrepreneurs are facing a two-front attack from a U.S. executive branch resistant to commercial and travel ties to the island, and from Cuban officials who have come to perceive the country’s small businesses less as partners in Cuba’s opening than as competition to state-owned firms. Before the permit freeze, between early 2013 and 2017, Cuba had approved 439 nonagricultural cooperatives, authorizing these privately managed associations to provide construction, retail, transportation, and other key economic services for the first time in 50 years. Meanwhile, the number of Cuban entrepreneurs exploded by more than 37 percent, and nonstate businesses came to account for almost a third of national employment, according to government figures. The true increase was even more substantial, as thousands of Cubans not counted in official estimates also flocked to the private sector without licenses. U.S. tourism to Cuba soared from 92,000 to 618,000 annual visitors during the three-year detente, and by 2016, private businesses were raking in about one-third of the island’s annual tourism revenues, according to the Brookings Institution. As U.S.-Cuban relations soured, so too did the Cuban government’s attitude toward the fledgling nonstate businesses. “We will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people, so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country’s great, great future,” Trump said in Miami during his June 2017 Cuba policy announcement. But tightening the U.S. embargo and travel controls has had the opposite effect. Though private guesthouses, boutique hotels, restaurants, and bars had multiplied to absorb the unexpected tourism deluge, once U.S. travel restrictions were back on the books, the inflow of visitors seemed likely to decline. The Cuban government backpedaled, stalling the country’s economic liberalization. Ultimately, Larrea’s cooperative got caught in the policy turnaround. He believes the Cuban government viewed his organization’s success as a “strong threat” to the state-run economy. “Economically, we were demonstrating that there was another way of doing things … that the private sector is more efficient than the state sector,” he said. “Economically, we were demonstrating that there was another way of doing things … that the private sector is more efficient than the state sector.” Things grew even worse for business owners like Larrea in July 2018, when Díaz-Canel hiked up performance standards, penalties, fines, and red tape for the country’s estimated 580,000 entrepreneurs. His administration also expanded the discretionary powers of executive agencies to inspect, punish, and curtail Cuban entrepreneurship. The measures were issued as part of Díaz-Canel’s first policy proclamation, though many were approved under his predecessor. They reduced the number and scope of occupations authorized for private-sector activity. Private real estate brokers, sports coaches, and art, music, and language instructors are explicitly forbidden from hiring employees and forming academies or agencies. Entrepreneurs must open bank accounts with three months’ worth of taxes on deposit and provide affidavits and other paperwork demonstrating the sources of their investment. “The new legislation is complicated, to the extent that it’s almost impossible to comply. … No one understands why you need to maintain a quota of three months’ taxes eternally in the bank,” an Airbnb landlord in Havana’s upscale neighborhood of Vedado told me. Yet for those who fail to meet the requirements, the punishments are steep. Local ministries, not courts, now have the power to seize private property and confiscate licenses. They can also levy fines of thousands of dollars. Stringent record-keeping mandates could also wipe out supply chains or push underground entrepreneurs who, due to routine shortages, stock their businesses through friends and relatives abroad, often in violation of Cuban restrictions against the resale of foreign imports. Entrepreneurs found their wholesale supply further constricted in April, when the Trump administration announced new controls on remittances to the island, on top of a second round of travel restrictions and a cruise ship ban in June that will only further eviscerate a dwindling U.S. tourism base. U.S. sanctions blocking oil shipments from Venezuela, Cuba’s longtime patron, have made matters even worse. Already pressed for hard currency, Havana has been forced to cut back imports of foodstuffs and other essentials in order to purchase fuel from new trading partners. The effects are visible. Food scarcity became so acute this May that Cubans waited in five-hour lines for rationed chicken and went weeks at a time without eggs. Bakeries and cake shops were shuttered for lack of flour from early December through New Year’s Day. In Havana, locating basic provisions often involves a trek of 100 blocks or more. Such trials are onerous not only for the self-employed, but also for state-sector workers, who are forced to compete for consumer goods in the same stores as entrepreneurs stocking their businesses. “Sometimes there’s no toilet paper. Suddenly, without flour, there is no bread; there’s no ham, cheese, or milk. But when you find any of this, it’s very expensive too,” said the Airbnb landlord, describing how she procures breakfast for her clients amid chronic supply shortages. “By the time you arrive at the store, it could be gone.” There is some reason for hope. A controversial July 2018 restriction limiting entrepreneurial activity to one license per person was scaled back in December after public outcry. The move showed that the government was somewhat responsive to popular pressure and recognized that the private sector will continue to play a necessary, though tightly regulated, role in the Cuban economy. Parts of the legislation that were kept in place include important employee rights and protections and anti-discrimination clauses, a response to public misgivings that the private sector’s revival has also exacerbated income inequality and racial prejudice. “Taxes, the control of funding for your business, the control of contracts … that’s something you can call a benefit of the new legislation,” Seida Barrera Rodríguez, a commercial lawyer, professor, and researcher at the University of Havana, told me. “License owners are complaining that it’s more work for them. But it protects their workers, who are the weakest right now.” Still, with Venezuelan oil sales on the decline and new austerity measures and rationing schedules on the books, shortages are intensifying by the week, and the future looks rather bleak for the country’s self-employed. Now more than ever, entrepreneurs and public employees alike depend on small businesses for living wages and vital staples. Outrage swept the island this spring when a high-profile commander proposed on national television raising ostriches, Caribbean rodents known as hutias, and crocodiles for human consumption, rather than building up private-sector alternatives to staggering production shortfalls. Yet on balance, Cuban officials seem less fazed by public discontent than they are by the prospect of entrepreneurs amassing outsized financial and political power. Small-business owners are finding it increasingly difficult to withstand government-led opposition to private-sector activity. “The challenge of running [a nonstate business] in Cuba, fundamentally, is self-preservation, let alone growth,” said one of Larrea’s co-founders at Scenius. “Growth is always dangerous. … Because there’s always restriction, because there’s always control. … The challenge is to stay alive.” So long as U.S. officials continue their stranglehold on travel and trade, Cuba can expect a future where reactionary sectors of government are given greater influence, and the country’s financial recovery is collateral damage to the party’s survival. With a sense of foreboding and unmet urgency, Cubans can only wait while the lines get longer and the accordion of reform and counter-reform plays on. Reporting for this story was supported by Yale University’s Gordon Grand Fellowship and Henry Hart Rice Foreign Residency.
  4. https://www.thepostmillennial.com/are-cigars-sin-tax-worthy/ Are cigars “sin tax worthy”? by Wyatt Claypool 14 mins ago Smoking in many ways has rightfully become a modern-day taboo, voluntarily damaging your body by bringing acidic, chemical-laced smoke into your lungs is something society should not be encouraging. The downside to this cognitive distancing from harmful tobacco products is that far less dangerous tobacco products get painted with the same broad brush. This almost always means regulations. Smoking such things as premium cigars and pipes may have visual similarities to cigarettes, but treating them as equals may be unjustified, especially in light of current research done by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A 2016 study review conducted by FDA staff found that one to two cigars per day is associated with minimal significant health risks. The FDA staff, led by Cindy Chang, had said that their actions were “not a formal dissemination of information by the FDA and did not represent agency position or policy.” Although later, the FDA would push back the dateto regulate premium cigars in the US from March 26th, 2018 to 2021 for further study. In the statement regarding the change to the timeline, one of the rationales for doing so was the potential that cigars posed different health effects from other products planned to be regulated in 2018, like cigarettes. This should be obvious as the use of cigars involves no inhaling of smoke, so treating them like cigarettes for the longest while was at the very least lazy. The actual findings themselves were quite compelling upon closer study. Not only was the conclusion by the FDA staff that 1-2 cigars per day had little significant health effects (despite the average cigar tending to just 0.5 per day), but the study had used a large sample size of 22 previous studies, which each had to meet a 95 percent statistical confidence rating. What was significant about these 22 studies is that in this case, the FDA accurately categorized respondents into primary and secondary cigar/pipe smokers. First smokers were those who currently smoke cigars or pipes with no history of cigarette smoking, and secondary cigar smokers who currently smoke cigars but have smoked cigarettes in the past. Often in the past, the stats between the two categories were mixed, which is why cigar smokers had results much closer to that of cigarette smokers. Overall when looking at all causes or smoking-related mortality (ie: oral and throat cancers, stomach cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and COPD, bladder cancer, coronary heart disease, strokes, and aortic aneurysms), the review found primary cigar smokers have an only 8 percent higher mortality rate from smoking-related causes compared to lifelong non-smokers. Out of context, an 8 percent higher mortality rate seems entirely wrong, although in context what must be remembered is that this is only studying illness that has some connection with smoking and that the 8 percent figure is taking into account for all frequencies of smoking (1-8+). This is a slight rise in a fraction of mortality causes for non-smokers. Oddly enough because of the small increase in all-cause mortality, some studies had even shown inverse associations with it, likely due to a survey finding itself on the negative end of a margin of error. Certain conditions like strokes, and coronary heart disease were found to only have slight rises in mortality rates in a few of the studies used, with the rest showing ether virtually no change or an inverse relationship that was not on the extreme end of the margin of error (without having to adjust for smoking frequency). Although there are useful data behind it, this is not to say cigar smoking had a positive effect in these cases, but unlike cigarettes, it is not having a consistently measurable negative impact on these conditions. When looking at specific diseases exasperated by cigar smoking, you can see why very few regulators bother to contextualize the statistics. First cigar smokers who had 1-2 per day saw an around 112 percent increase in oral cancer mortality, a 545 percent increase in larynx cancer mortality, and a 128 percent increase in esophageal cancer mortality. Again this seems like a lot, but this is an increase in the numbers of deaths compared to non-smokers who are very unlikely to die of any of these conditions. In the case of the larynx cancer all three studies which had data on deaths of larynx cancer saw an approximate 900 percent (without frequency taken into account) increase in mortality, but that meant in the Kahn study with the largest sample size of tens of thousands of primary and secondary cigar smokers only 12 deaths from larynx cancer were reported. This is mostly true with all areas of significant increase. Comparing these mortality increases without context would be equivalent to stating a specific type of shoe made you one thousand percent more likely to be crushed by a vending machine while withholding the average number of people who perish that way per year. Many anti-tobacco groups with good intentions do these sorts of comparisons with cigars. This lack of contextualizing seems to based on the need to be anti-tobacco, as letting one tobacco product go unregulated would seem like a violation of the lobbies goals despite the lack of risk premium cigars pose. Politically it is entirely understandable why cigars are demonized by anti-tobacco groups, as they do not want to shrink their area of influence, but it also doesn’t mean they are working in good faith. The funny thing is that despite the majority of American states and Canadian provinceshaving high sin taxes on cigars (the majority of which punch above 35 percent) certain acceptably products like soda have measurably worse health effects on the general public in similar use frequency. Should soda be taxed heavily? Of course not. A sin tax requires harm to an individual or society; if there are not significant health risks to cigars then presumably there is no sin. Unless a product is similar to cigarettes coming with something like a 2100 percent higher risk of lung cancer, it is silly to police products based on any detectable health risk, no matter how small. California has developed this habit as of recent, starting to label every product as cancer causing and dangerous, yet with no benefits to the state’s general health. Paranoia tends not to make for good policy. For the majority of cases, people should be able to choose what health risks are acceptable to them, and regulations should not be based on the extreme cases of overuse, like what often happens with cigars.
  5. I don't hold grudges $12 a cigar or $300 a box brings a lot of very good Cuban cigars into play.
  6. Down the track (excuse the pun), a casual and comfortable rail tour from Havana to Santiago may actually make sense. https://www.dw.com/en/cubas-chinese-made-train-starts-its-first-run/a-49583902-0
  7. Cheers for that. I find it strange that people would grumble about a $25 Cohiba Siglo VI let alone a $16 Connie B. A Juan Lopez 2/epi 2 at sub $7 would have to be the buy on the planet today.
  8. Gregory Mottola did a nice write up on some of the cigars that stood out at the recent 2019 trade show. https://www.cigaraficionado.com/article/standout-cigars-from-the-2019-trade-show Is it simply that I haven't been paying enough attention or have NC prices gone through the roof as of late?
  9. I haven't had enough brazilian puro. However for those that have, how would you compare the flavour characters as opposed to Nic and Dom?
  10. I have heard that it can happen. I have also heard first hand of people (non US citizens) buying the tickets online (third country) and being stopped at the gates (in the US) from boarding . American Airlines are notorious for this. Get it in writing.
  11. Non US citizens have always had to re-route through a 3rd country. We find Panama easiest.
  12. I assume oil is extracted? Is there a unique type of tobacco plant for this?
  13. Nope....I still can't picture it but if you have....let us know! UNCRATE.SUPPLY 14 19-69 CHINESE TOBACCO EAU DE PARFUM / $175 Inspired by legendary films like Apocalypse Now and Indochine, this scent combines the old with the new. Chinese Tobacco is spicy and woody with notes of tobacco, coriander, and oud that result in an exceptional bouquet to compliment your style and personality. 3.3 fl.oz
  14. ......... I kept thinking....how does he know Fuzz!!!!
  15. Cigars...and things that everyone appears to like....but that you can't stand. Get it off your chest Cigars: Behike 56 Other: Selfies
  16. Cuba sees tourism dropping 8.5% due to Trump travel restrictions https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-tourism/cuba-sees-tourism-dropping-8-5-due-to-trump-travel-restrictions-idUSKCN1U62UR Nelson Acosta, Sarah Marsh HAVANA (Reuters) - Tourism to Cuba will likely drop 8.5% this year in the wake of tighter U.S. restrictions on travel to the Caribbean island, the government said on Thursday, and the decline in arrivals will further hurt Cuba’s already ailing centrally planned economy. A boom in tourism over the last few years has helped offset weaker exports and a steep decline in aid from key ally Venezuela that has forced the government to take austerity measures like cutting imports. The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to squeeze that hard currency revenue stream too as part of its attempt to force the Communist government to reform and stop supporting Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. Last month it banned cruise ships and private planes and yachts from traveling to the island and ended a heavily used educational category of travel allowed as an exemption to the overall ban on U.S. tourism. “These measures sparked a 20.33% reduction in tourist activity,” Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero was quoted as saying by state news agencies in a speech to the National Assembly. The minister estimated 4.3 million people would visit Cuba this year, down from the goal of more than 5 million, and 4.7 million last year. Looser restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba under former President Barack Obama, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and commercial flights and cruises had caused a spike in U.S. visits to the country. U.S. travelers excluding Cuban-Americans became the second- biggest group of tourists on the island in recent years after Canadians, with cruise travelers accounting for half of them. But Trump has rolled back much of Obama’s detente and taken additional measures to punish the economy and government. Marrero noted the Trump administration’s decision in April to allow U.S. lawsuits against foreign companies deemed to be “trafficking” in properties in Cuba nationalized after Cuba’s 1959 revolution was also affecting the tourism sector. ADVERTISEMENT
  17. To put in in perspective. The taste of the 18/19 Connie B very much remind me of the body and flavour of the 03 Winston when they first came out.
  18. From what you are tasting currently Putting a cigar away for 10 years in the following categories. Which would they be. No more than 2 recommendations per category please. Sub 44 1. 2 45-50 1. 2. 52+ 1. 2.
  19. I have no doubt that the current Connie B will age 10 years easy. As good as an 03 Winston is today

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