Anyone travelling to Cuba since early 2000 has seen the billboards and noticed all the memorials in public places, schools, factories, literally everywhere, demanding the release of “Los 5 Heroes” and promising “Volveran” – they will return.
Little I did I imagined then that I would one day spend time and smoke cigars with them.
John, Jose and I happened to visit a cigar lounge in Miramar where we were told a “private function” was taking place in one of the salons when my well connected friend G. came out of that salon and invited us to join the informal gathering of the “Cuban five”, their families and friends.
We smoked our cigars, had the chance to speak with some of the five and it became a very pleasant and personal conversation about Gerardo’s twins and his newly born daughter of which he proudly showed us some pictures. The conversation then turned to cigars and we were invited to meet Gerardo and Tony a few days later.
Smoking good cigars once again in the private lounge of a central Havana hotel we met and spoke for an hour on storing cigars in Cuba, freezing them to prevent tobacco beetles and about friends we had in common like the guys from Humidores Habana, neighbours of Tony in the Vibora Park neighbourhood of Havana.
Then the door opened and Fidel Castro Jr, “Fidelito,” came in to greet the men and exchange some words with us, a very impressive experience.
We really enjoyed our time and conversations ( conducted mostly in English ) with these very humble and extremely friendly gentlemen that are genuinely loved and highly admired by Cubans.
All our Cuban friends would be very impressed we had met them and would ask about their wellbeing and be very happy about Gerardo’s truly beautiful baby girl.
A real highlight of this trip for both John and me and which left Jose quite impressed.