Cuba – Visit To The Farms – Hector Luis Prieto

27 Mar


nfc capDuring a conversation with Mr Portmann last year I had suggested, upon his enquiry, a visit and lunch at one of the most spectacularly beautiful tobacco plantations I have seen in the Vuelta Abajo.

Having arranged the visit to Hector Luis’ farm last November I looked forward to this visit and in conclusion, although it rained hard and no walks could be undertaken around the farm, I believe that it was a welcome change for the group and a more real perspective of farm life and tobacco growing.

The logistics were a bit off from the start – being used to procure all beverages at the last petrol station in Pinar we found out that beer was no longer on sale there. Almost an hour later we had managed to buy 20 cans of warm beer from a state bar in town rushing back to the Robaina farm where we met the others.

It was Thomas Portmann who saved the day getting into the car with one of Hector’s farmhands and driving to the next kiosk where, gracias Cuba & Thomas !, they hit gold and returned with some 30 more cans of cold Cristal.

Having something to wet our throats we proceeded to the more important issues, such as handing over to Hector a load of stuff for his farm and his workers there.

In November he had told me that we could best contribute with long-sleeved work shirts, leather work gloves, hats and caps, medicine for his horses and school material for the kids.

I had passed the list over to Mr Portmann and his sons and they had taken good care of all that, even the horse medicine had been kept refrigerated right until the handover at the farm.

Frank had brought a load of school materials for the nearby school and they were also gratefully received.

Then it was lunch time – the pig was ready.

No fancy service, we arranged the tables and seats, served ourselves from the delicious and finger-licking food and had a good time despite the drizzle.

After coffee and cigars by Miguel, Hector’s right hand and tabaquero, we visited the tobacco barns and received all the information on the farm plus straight answers to many tobacco related questions to Hector.

As in former visits, I wished I could have stayed on for a few days at the farm ( like Rob and Andy did this time ) – alas, all I did was stay on for a few glasses of rum after everybody had left to enjoy the serenity of the place with Frank and Jo.

One day …


4 Responses to “Cuba – Visit To The Farms – Hector Luis Prieto”

  1. Brendan 28/03/2013 at 05:48 #

    Nino, Thank you so much for posting all of these threads after your trip to Cuba.

    It really helps to see the ‘other side’ – the people going about their day-to-day activities, and just how humble they are.

    Although I have not had the opportunity to visit Cuba (yet), I feel like I can understand a lot more about the country and the people through your blog posts.

    Again, thank you for keeping us informed on what’s happening, and providing so much information and photos.



    • Nino Munoz 28/03/2013 at 10:52 #

      Good morning Brendan,

      thank you very much for your comments and the kind words – if that is how it comes across then I’m happy.

      I’ve always been more interested in the real Cuba than in the fake cigar circus and the more I travel there the more I get to see, experience and like the real Cuban life.

      Speaking the language and feeling empathy for the Cuban people sure helps.

      I hope you can visit Cuba soon and see for yourself.

      Best regards and happy Easter ! / Nino

  2. Arild 01/04/2013 at 02:25 #

    Nino, it is heartwarming to read this blog. Cigars are good, but the people are great. Thank you for sharing the everyday life in Cuba, and for helping out.

    • Nino Munoz 02/04/2013 at 14:02 #


      my pleasure and thank you for the kind words – best regards to you & Ada !