Cigar City Magazine/Aug-Sept 2012

Page 1


TABLE OF CONTENTS FEATURES Cynthia Fuente-First Lady of Cigars | 22 Liana Fuente | 30 The Black Hand | 32 EXTRAS This Month in History | 16 Lost Landmarks | 16 Pour Discissions | 18 The Libation Lounge | 20 Interview with Marco Rubio | 38 Cigar City Playground | 34 Mama Knows | 38

COVER Cynthia Fuente of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company Cover shot provided by Iriarte Photography & Design







Check out our upcoming events at



©2012, BossaNova Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use without written permission from the BossaNova Agency, of editorial, pictorial, or design content, in any manner is prohibited. The opinions of writers commissioned for articles are not necessarily those of the agency. All advertising is subject to approval before acceptance. BossaNova Agency reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason whatsoever. The BossaNova Agency assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters, emails and their contents sent to the BossaNova Agency become the sole property of the agency and may be used and published in any manner whatsoever without limit and without obligation or liability to the author there of. Cigar City™ is a trademarked name and logo, any reproduction or use without written permission will fall under the trademark infringement laws and will be executed under the fullest extent of the law. BossaNova Agency only holds the rights to use the name and trademark under the rules and regulations of the owner of the Cigar City™



IN THE MONTH’S OF AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER August 4, 1564 A 10-ship Spanish fleet under Pedro Menendez de Aviles made landfall in Florida. Menendez was under orders from Phillip II to oust the French. August 14, 1842 Seminole War ended and the Indians were moved from Florida to Oklahoma. August 24, 2008 The US Democratic national convention’s credentials committee ruled to give full voting rights to delegates from Florida, despite their defying party rules and holding their primaries early. September 6, 1622 A Spanish silver fleet disappeared off Florida Keys; thousands died. The Santa Margarita, discovered off of Key West in 1980 by pioneering shipwreck salver Mel Fisher, was bound for Spain when it sank in a hurricane. September 18, 1926 A hurricane hit South Florida killing about 400 people and leaving some 50,000 homeless. September 28, 1992 Gloria Estefan and a cavalcade of musicians and comedians raised one-point-three-million dollars at a hurricane relief concert in Miami.

Congratulations Kimberly Boyle of Tampa, Florida who guessed last issue's Lost Landmark! The Lost Landmark in the June/July 2012 issue was Number 5 fire station on Tampa Street.

Email your answer and your name to: by September 1, 2012.



My Beer Has Wood! That’s right. There’s both wood in your beer and it’s happy to see you. As American brewers grow increasingly avante garde in their pursuit of new flavors, they are embracing more extraordinary ingredients. Many brewers have welcomed the addition of a wood and barrel-aging program in order to draw out many of the flavor nuances from the marriage of wood and beer. Some brewers choose to age their beer in wooden vessels and some simply add wood to fermentation so the beer will pick up the flavors a particular wood will pass on. Some woods give off subtle aroma and flavor components and keep the beer close to home base while other woods electrify the beer and shoot the taste profile to a different plane. Some common and uncommon woods used to excite and entice beer lovers are: Oak: Oak is by far the most common wood used in American brewing. There are many variables that contribute to the flavor that oak will impart on a beer, but for the most part oak gives a beer vanilla, wood, char, and possibly some notes of a liquor, depending on the oak’s past life. If the oak served as a bourbon barrel, then the beer steals from the Angels’ Share and donates the bourbon flavor previously soaked into the wood. If the oak was simply a tree, then expect tones of vanilla and wood. great oaked beers abound, but Denver’s great Divide Rumble is a fine oaked India Pale Ale (IPA) and Dunedin’s 7venth Sun Brewery recently released a barrelaged porter, dubbed SuperFly, aged in a Palm Ridge Reserve (Orlando-area whiskey distillery) barrel. Maple: Maple is an uncommon wood in brewing. Recently several breweries across the United States aged an IPA on unused maple baseball bats to benefit Operation Homefront, a charity that gives relief to military families. This beer was released simultaneously by all participating breweries, and all profits went to Operation Homefront. Maple wood gives off subtle earthy wood and slight vanilla flavors. The most accessible incarnation of a maple beer is the Operation Homefront IPA brewed by Cigar City Brewing. 18


Cedar: Cedar adds uncanny spicy notes when added to beer. Its use is becoming increasingly popular and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing stands as a pioneer brewery in the use of cedar. Cigar City’s Humidor IPA won a gold medal in the 2009 great American Beer Festival in the coveted Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer Category, one of the festival’s most popular categories. Cedar’s flavors are best described as spicy and woody but unique. enjoying the first cedar beer is equal to trying rye bread for the first time after following a steady diet of white bread. exemplars of cedar include anything from Cigar City’s Humidor Series. Spruce: Spruce and spruce tips are used to give a pine and wood flavor akin to Christmas trees. This wood is usually used in Christmas beers, and in a rare occasion a gruit or traditional ale. The standard-bearer for spruce in a beer is Anchor Brewing’s Our Special Ale, a December ale whose recipe is tweaked every year for a subtly different flavor. The flavor of spruce is at the forefront of this beer, and it delivers the flavor of the yuletide season to this annual ale. Palo Santo Wood: newark, Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery’s motto is “Offcentered beers for off-centered people.” They are infamous for perpetually seeking something new and different. It is that search that led the owner of the brewery to South America to research a rare wood; a wood so hard that when asked for a sample, the guide took out a revolver to shoot a piece off a tree. After sampling the wood and brewing with it, Dogfish Head ordered enough of this wood to make the largest wooden brewing vessels since Prohibition. This rare wood gives off flavors all its own—flavors ranging from vanilla and oak to maple syrup and earth. The only beer that uses this wood is Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron, and is available year-round from this Delaware brewery. enjoyment of these beers may last more than four hours, but each flavor is more distinctive than the last. On the one hand, many of these brews can bruise, since barrel aging will add to an already strong alcohol presence. On the other hand, these beers will serve as faithful companion to food, a great conversation piece, or a stiff nightcap.

Flying High Again A part of the cocktail resurgence of the last few years has been the discovery of older pre-Prohibition drinks, and others “lost to time”. One of the more popular examples has been The Aviation. This purple-tinged libation first appeared in Hugo Ensslin’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks, published by Fox Printing House in 1916. ensslin was the head bartender at the Wallick Hotel, located at the corner of Broadway and 43rd St. (don’t bother looking for it anymore, the building was torn down in 1940). ennslin’s book had fallen out of the public eye by the late 1920s. Then, in 1930, the legendary Savoy Cocktail Book was published by Constable & Company. The Savoy is regarded as one of the holy books of mixology. However, they made a now-infamous error by reprinting the Aviation recipe without its key ingredient, crème de violette. Over the ensuing decades The Aviation fell out of favor with the drinking public and crème de violette disappeared from American shores. But over the past decade, as mixologists began digging deeper into older cocktail books, the lost recipe for The Aviation resurfaced. And the resurgence of the original Aviation came full circle in 2007 with the availability once again of crème de violette in the United States. The Aviation is a great summer drink. It’s vibrant and flavorful with the right mix of sweet and sour. The original recipe I tried used ¾ oz lemon juice, but I found it a little too overpowering, so I adjusted the lemon down from ¾ to ½ oz. 1 ½ ounces gin ½ ounce fresh lemon juice ¼ ounce crème de violette ¼ ounce maraschino liqueur Add ingredients to mixer with three ice cubes. Mix well, and add to a well-chilled cocktail glass. An interview with the Rakish Bon Vivant I came across the cocktail and style log The Rakish Bon Vivant a few months ago and have found it one of the best on the web. It’s called “a sartorial guide to cocktails”. It is that and so much more. I asked the Bon Vivant himself about his blog, trends in cocktails, and the best drink for a beach day followed by sunset at Pass-A-grille. And no, a Captain and Coke doesn’t cut it. SD: How did you get started with the blog? How has it been received? BV: We are in the midst of the renaissance of the modern gentleman, where we are, once again, being inspired and encouraged to dress well 20


and act refined, but still manly, as exemplified by shows such as Mad Men, Boardwalk empire, and Suits. At the same time, we are experiencing a parallel renaissance of the classic cocktail, as exemplified by the number of speakeasy-style bars, high-end cocktail lounges, bartenders who call themselves “mixologists,” and restaurants featuring specialty cocktail lists that have popped up within the last few years. My blog aims to help men take part in this revolutionary period by educating them, sometimes in a tongue-and-cheek way, with respect to the finer things in life, including dress, cooking/grilling, grooming, travel, sports, and drink. I have found that while many men want to dress better, order the right cocktail, and present in a more refined manner, they may not always know how to do so or feel comfortable discussing these topics among their friends. Therefore, my blog is meant to inspire a man to raise the bar a bit (pun intended), elevate his game, and hopefully discover a new cocktail or two along the way. So far, the blog has been read by more than 2,400 readers in 18 countries and has grown entirely by word of mouth. I really enjoy the comments and feedback I have received, which has not only been educational, but has helped to inspire future posts, so keep them coming! SD: You write about clothes and lifestyles topics and the intersection with cocktails. How essential is one to the other? BV: Like the way a good wine becomes more exceptional when paired with the right food, a good cocktail is enhanced by the right attitude and mindset. For example, while a Sazerac may very well be enjoyed in gym shorts and a T-shirt, the essence of this classic American cocktail is amplified when wearing a tailored suit and perfectly dimpled tie. It’s about creating the overall cocktail experience–drawing upon, understanding, and ultimately exploiting the intricacies of the drink by pairing it with its most complimentary accessories. And that is what my blog is about–helping the reader pair the right cocktail to the right situation. SD: What are some basic cocktails that every home mixologist should have in their repertoire? What are some tools for the home bar that people might not be familiar with (your swizzle stick post inspired this one)? BV: The point of a home bar is to ensure that your guests–no matter their differing tastes and preferences–have a good cocktail in hand. Therefore, a home mixologist should have the knowledge and skills to make at least the following four classic cocktails–an Old Fashioned, a Mojito, a Manhattan, and a Martini. each of these can also act as the foundation for some more unique cocktails as you hone your skills and

expand your bar. For example, once you master an Old Fashioned, you can make a rum version using demerera syrup or a tequila version using agave nectar (both variations are featured on my blog). Likewise, a Mojito can become a Mint Julep with a simple exchange of a bottle–rum for bourbon (and withholding the limes). And, of course, the Martini is the building block of dozens of other drinks, including its predecessor, the Martinez. The foundation of any home bar starts with a variety of jiggers because measuring your cocktail ingredients ensures consistency in each of your creations, which is the key to good bartending. I recommend a 1-oz.-2 oz. jigger and a ½ oz.- ¾ oz. jigger. And while every home bar likely has a shaker, a crystal mixing glass and Hawthorne strainer is a must-have for stirred drinks. I would also recommend a 2”x 2” ice cube tray (or, if you want to get really fancy, a spherical ice tray), as a large block will keep the cocktail cold while not overly diluting the libation. And finally, as readers of my blog know, I am a fan of the swizzle stick for making swizzles and tiki drinks, which tend to impress even the most discerning of guests. SD: You are based in NYC. What are your favorite cocktail lounges in the City? Elsewhere? BV: Living in new york City, and specifically the east Village, I am spoiled by having so many great cocktail lounges within walking distance. Some of my favorites in the City are, in no particular order, Mayahuel (a tequila cocktail lounge), PDT (a world-renowned speakeasy that you enter through an old-timey telephone booth located at the back of a hot dog joint), PKny (a high-end tiki cocktail bar), The Beagle (a tiny restaurant in Alphabet City with simply amazing drinks), and Amor y Amargo (a bitters-centric bar). Through my travels, I have also discovered The Columbia Room in Washington, D.C.; Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco, CA; and Prohibition in Atlanta, gA; but, to me, the best cocktails in the world are stirred at the The Soho Hotel in London, england. Simply put, their cocktails are extraordinary. SD: For us in Florida, what's your ideal hot summer drink? What's your all-time favorite cocktail? BV: For a hot summer day, I recommend a Pimm’s Cup, and as the sun goes down, I would switch to a gold Rush. But my all-time favorite cocktail, which I can drink any time of year, is a cold Manhattan. All three recipes, along with some insights, tips, and secrets regarding each, can be found on my blog at SD: What liquor do you suggest people don't cheap out on, for both drinking and cooking? BV: I think it comes down to your pallet. everyone has that 'threshold' for what is something you just don't want to skimp on. In general, you hear people say wine. I'd follow by saying scotch, bourbon, whiskeys and for me personally, sake. I love smooth sake. Sherri is serious about her tequila.




Cynthia Fuente 22





Nicknamed “The First Lady of Cigars” for holding the highest ranking corporate position within the cigar industry–president of U.S. operations for Arturo Fuente Tobacco Company–Cynthia Fuente Suarez is constantly asked what it is like to be a woman in a “man’s world” and how it feels to be a female pioneer in the tobacco industry. For Fuente, these are confounding questions. A woman in the cigar industry is special? She is a pioneer? Fuente has been part of the cigar industry since the day she was born and for as far back as she can remember, women have not just been a part of it–they have been a major part of it. by Paul Guzzo Women in the cigar industry were the norm in ybor City and West Tampa during Fuente’ childhood in the 1960s, the tail-end of Tampa’s run as “Cigar Capital of the World.” While to many, women were to stay home and raise the family, in the immigrant communities where the less affluent families lived, many women had to work doubleduty–work in the factories by day and run the households by night. As a child, Fuente did not see women in the cigar industry as an anomaly; it was the norm. “My grandmother Christina worked side by side with my grandfather Arturo. My mother Anna always worked by my father’s side,” explained Fuente. “My father could not afford to pay my mother so she also worked at the Cuesta Rey Cigar Factory to learn how to make cigars and to help earn to provide for the family. My mother worked in the factory until she was eight months pregnant with me.” “When I was growing up, the Fuente Cigar Factory was actually my grandfather’s back porch and whenever I visited after school and on weekends, I saw women working. So I have never visualized the cigar industry as a man’s industry. If I ever pigeonholed [the cigar industry], it was as a family industry. Because that is how I was raised.” She was raised to believe that her grandfather did not own the Fuente Cigar Company–the family did, which is why she doesn’t consider her high ranking position in the cigar industry as anything special. Her grandmother wasn’t simply the wife of Arturo Fuente; she was his partner in everything he did. She was as much a part of the company’s success as he was. Fuente is simply president of U.S. operations. Her grandmother was a partner in running the entire show as her mother was part of her father’s success throughout the years. Of course, it was a small show–20 or so employees producing cigars on a back porch. The employees were loyal–mostly friends and family–and would often roll cigars all night after completing their hours at a larger factory during the day. They were well taken care of, however. Fuente’ grandmother helped in every facet of the cigars’ preparation, but she would also often disappear from her

rolling station into the kitchen to fix meals and brew coffee for the employees at the makeshift factory. If Fuente was present, she was called inside to assist her grandmother, often asked to carry the refreshments to the employees. As Fuente grew older, Fuente cigars moved off her grandfather’s back porch and into the Arturo Fuente Cigar Factory on 18th Street and 17th Avenue in ybor City and the Charles the great Factory at 1310 n. 22nd Street, which her father purchased in the mid-1960s shortly after taking over the reins of the family operation. The number of employees grew from 20-something to 500something. Fuente’ assignments grew as well. She would help with filing and answer phones under the tutelage of Romona Cerra, an important mentor who worked along side her father as a an administrator. Cynthia also assisted with preparing the cigars, from separating the tobacco to rolling cigars. “We learned about the business because we were always around the factory and because we worked in every department,” explained Fuente. “I had a great deal of love for older people and still do and I am a people person so I would love to spend time with some of the older employees and have them dispense advice on how to do their jobs. I was especially close with my godfather, Fausto Suarez. He selected the shades of the cigars and would make sure that the cigars in each box were perfectly aligned. I would sit by him for hours and watch him work. My grandmother was in the cellophane department so I would help her iron the cellophane onto the cigars back before we had machines to do that. I learned it all.” It would seem that Fuente was groomed since birth to one day take a leadership role in her family’s company. However, that could not be further from the truth. She was never pushed into the cigar industry. She was never told it was her only option in life. The only rule her parents had for her when she was a child was to enjoy life. And enjoy it she did. AUgUST/SePTeMBeR



Born on October 18, 1958, Fuente was raised in both of Tampa’s moved to Tampa from Key West in 1912. Tampa was the place to live prominent Latin communities–ybor City and West Tampa. if your American Dream revolved around the cigar industry, as West Tampa was where she lived with her parents. Her father, Carlos factories were popping up on seemingly every corner throughout ybor Sr., built the home on Dewey Street in which she spent her early years City and West Tampa. Arturo Fuente, Sr. lived in ybor City and and later designed a new house for the family on Woodlawn Avenue, opened his first factory in West Tampa–a small three-story wooden but she rarely spent time inside her father’s creations. If she was in building. By 1924, it boasted hundreds of employees and was on the West Tampa, the moment she woke on weekends and summers, and verge of becoming a major force in the cigar industry. However, that from the moment school was out, she was outside playing kickball or same year, his factory burned to the ground, forcing the Fuente collecting tadpoles and frogs in creeks and Tobacco Company founder to start from ditches. When it was time for dinner, no scratch. He sold his land and found work matter how far from home she was, she at other cigar factories for the next 15 could hear her father whistling for her. He years. He then reestablished the family would stick his two fingers in his mouth business, but not in a factory with hunand blow so loud on some nights that she dreds of employees. Rather, his family thought all of West Tampa knew it was and friends would roll his cigars on his dinnertime in the Fuente household. back porch. This was the world into “And he still has the chops,” she which Fuente was born. laughed. “My son recently graduated from However, her memories of her grandparPlant High School and the ceremony was ents do not solely revolve around the at the fairgrounds. When it let out we cigar industry. Her grandfather was more could not find my son and vice versa, so than an iconic name to her. He was a lovmy father whistled for him and he found ing man. us in that huge crowd in no time.” “I’ll always remember my grandfather for Just because she spent so much time the tremendous love he had in his heart,” outside does not mean she was a tomboy, said Fuente. “He loved being around peohowever. Fuente described herself as ple. He worked all day around people and delicate, the type of girl whose favorite toy then on weekends when a lot of people was her “Suzy Homemaker” easy-Bake would want quiet time, he would throw Oven and who loved baking with her big feasts at his home. He would cook the mother, Anna, or playing dress up with pork in the backyard. My grandmother Cynthia Fuente at age 2. her friends. would prepare crab and pasta and other In a way, the girl she was mirrors the woman she became. She was a delicacies in the kitchen. Then everyone would play cards and smoke girl who was as comfortable getting dirty with the boys as she was cigars. It was great. We visited my grandparents after school whenever staying pretty with the girls. we could, every Sunday, and spent a lot of the summers with them. I It was also as a child when she learned about respect, love and work loved them so much.” ethic–traits that she said were easy to pick up when she spent so much And it was that love, not the tutelage in the art of cigar making, time around her parents. which drove Fuente to be a part of the family business. “My parents were the most loving people and hardest workers I Like most youngsters, she originally sought to forge her own path knew,” she said. “They have always been wonderful examples to me.” in life. She attended the University of South Florida and studied As were her grandparents, who lived and worked in ybor City, her business and psychology. She spent some time working as a respihome away from home. If she was not in West Tampa, she was at their ratory therapist at the gonzalez Clinic in ybor City and later home or the Charles the great Factory, running through the hallways worked in a men’s clothing store, Mr. Man. But in the end she like it was a giant playground, learning everything there was about the chose the cigar industry and joined the family business shortly cigar industry, or sitting on a relative’s lap and listening to stories with after graduating from college. life lessons. even the non-blood-related employees treated her like fam- “My father always said that I have to follow my passion,” said ily, making sure she stayed out of trouble and dispensing advice. Fuente, “He said I needed to do what I loved. Well, what I love is “It was great,” she said. my family. My family brings me comfort and love so I wanted to “It was like I grew up in a family of 500.” work with them and be part of their business. Whether my family Her grandfather, of course, is the now world-famous Arturo Fuente. was in the cigar business or any other business in the world, I But when she was a child, he was just a struggling small-time cigar would be a part of it. I just love being with my family and getting manufacturer. Her grandfather was born and raised in Cuba and to work with them makes me so lucky.” 24







She was hired as part of the national sales team and mentored by her father’s national sales manager, Fred zaniboni, a man whom Fuente said was as responsible for helping build the family brand as anyone not named Fuente. zaniboni took Fuente around the country with him, teaching her everything he knew about pushing Fuente Cigars into new markets. Another mentor, Linda Portugues, was not only an important influence on her business career but has also been like a second mother to her. This was during the 1970s, which was a difficult time for the Fuente family. Arturo Fuente passed away in 1973 at the age of 85. In the mid1970s, the family decided to expand and open a factory in nicaragua. That factory was burned by rebels in 1978. The family once again lost everything. They opened a new factory in Honduras. The Fuentes’ challenges continued when an electrical fire took that factory. While the marketing tools taught to Fuente by zaniboni were a vital part of her forward movement in the cigar industry, she said the greatest lesson she learned during that time was that the key to success is determination. Her family could have folded the business following the second fire and the world would have understood. Instead, the Fuentes chose to once again rebuild. In 1980 her father mortgaged his Tampa home and opened a factory in the Dominican Republic. Her mother once again joined her husband and they started from scratch with seven rollers. Fuente remained in the United States, working out of their Tampa factory which was being used to produce some machine made cigars and for administrative work. She continued to travel to the major cigar shows and conventions to market their new cigars while overseeing all the administrative work in Tampa. Following a business deal with ybor City’s J.C. newman Cigar Factory in 1987 that saw the Fuentes’ U.S. distribution relocated to their factory, Fuente decided to move to the Dominican Republic to assist her father. By this time she was married and had birthed her first child, Christina, the namesake of her grandmother, and she wanted to relocate not just to help the family business but so her new family could be close to her father and mother. Along with her brother Carlito, who had joined forces in the early 1980s but was already involved with helping his father and mother acquire the factory in Santiago. She remained in the Dominican Republic for close to ten years, giving birth to two more children–Bianca and Carlos–and assisting her father with the company’s accounting and other administrative duties. She also continued to hone her skills in every facet of cigar production, often visiting the fields and the factory to lend a hand. Then, in the mid-1990s, the cigar boom swept across the United States and the Fuente Opus-X was a major part of it. The long years of hard work began to pay off as Fuente cigars were launched into superstardom. The Dominican Republic operation that once had just seven employees 28


expanded to three factories and thousands of employees. Millions of Fuente cigars were being shipped all over the world. The Fuentes became rock stars. By 2000, the Fuentes needed a family member who knew the industry inside and out back in Tampa to oversee its U.S. operations. Fuente obliged. She was named the president of Arturo Fuente Tobacco Company’s U.S. operations, becoming “The First Lady of Cigars.” For the first few years she worked out of the J.C. newman Cigar Factory. A few years ago the family decided to begin renovating the Charles the great Factory so it would be complete for its 100th anniversary celebration this november. Fuente moved her office into the facility and has helped to oversee that major renovation project. She has also added ambassador to her long list of duties. As the Fuente family celebrates its 100th year in the cigar industry, she, along with her older brother Carlito, has become the face of the family in the United States, travelling throughout the nation to major shows and conventions. What she is proudest of, however, is not the fame and fortune the cigar industry has brought to her. It continues to be her family. She speaks glowingly of her father Carlos and brother Carlito’s work in the Dominican Republic overseeing the entire Fuente enterprise. She can’t say enough about the work her niece, Liana, does as the company’s creative marketing director. And whether her three children go into the cigar industry or not, she knows she will always be proud of them because they have all grown into fine young adults. Through the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, the spirit of inclusion and family that Fuente was born into now also extends to a new generation of workers in the Dominican Republic. When Fuente’ daughter, Christina and Brooke McBath, became friends at the Academy of the Holy names, Fuente met Brooke’s father, Dr. Daniel McBath, of the McBath Medical Center and Clinic in Dade City, and she and her children were inspired by Dr. McBath’s work. Since then, Dr. McBath and his family have done medical mission trips to care for workers in the clinic established by the foundation and continue to help the people of the Chateau de la Fuente region. As for her future? She said it is only getting brighter. She has no plans to retire and wants to do everything she can to ensure that the company that was once located on her grandfather’s back porch can thrive for another 100 years and beyond. “When I think about how far the company has come in my life, I am in awe,” she said. “I am so lucky to have had a first-hand look at history.” But in terms of her own historical significance as “The First Lady of Cigars” or pioneer in the cigar industry, she just scoffs. “Thousands of women came before me,” she said. “To say I am first would discredit all those women who helped make this industry what it is today.” For more information about the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, please visit






hirty-two-year-old Liana Fuente had been sneaking puffs of cigars for as long as she could remember. Being born into the world famous Fuente Cigar family meant that cigars were never hard to come by. Liana’s childhood memories of her grandfather, Carlos Fuente, and father, Carlito, always seemed to included a dangling cigar from their mouths. Sometimes, when they were not looking, she said she would sneak into one of their offices, steal a puff or two, as most children would do as an act of curiosity. But it wasn’t until she was older did she have the opportunity to smoke one from start to finish. At a young age, Liana Fuente was in new Orleans with her father for the first time attending major cigar convention. While on their way out to dinner, her father and a group of his friends lit up cigars. She prodded her father for one so she could join in on the festivities. He agreed to provide her with a cigar, an Opus X Lancero. This is one of Fuente’s most sought out cigar and one of the most beloved in the entire industry, but it was a lot larger and stronger than she desired for her first cigar. excepting her father’s prideful selection, she grabbed it and puffed away. She never made it to dinner than night. Halfway through the cigar, she decided to return to the hotel room to lay down due to light headedness. “I knew how to smoke cigars,” laughed Liana, but the cigar was so intense, I was not ready for that ride yet. Today, like most cigar aficionados, the Opus X cigar is one of her favorites as well as the Don Carlos Line. Liana, as the creative marketing director travels the country representing her family name and all of Arturo Fuente Cigars as the century-old family business’. She is in charge of all media and customer relations in the U.S. as well as product marketing through grassroots, online, convention and show avenues–and she has never gotten sick off a cigar since. Like most of the Fuente family, the cigar industry has always been Liana’s calling in life. growing up, she spread her wings and explored other avenues. “There was never any pressure to be in the business,” Liana said. “My grandfather always told me he didn’t care if I became President of the United States or a street cleaner. As long as I did my job the best I could, he’d be proud of me. He said if I was a street cleaner, he would only hope I had the cleanest street possible.” In the end, the family business was where she belonged. Fuentes interested in pursuing a career in cigars are not just handed keys to the ivory tower, though. They have to earn their stripes. Six years into joining the company, she still makes bi-weekly

trips to the family’s farm and factory in the Dominican where she learns every aspect of the cigar industry, from how the tobacco is grown and picked, to how it is transported and rolled. She doesn’t just watch, either; she is expected to get her hands stained with the color of tobacco. “The only department I think I have yet to work in is the box factory,” she said. “I am the fourth generation of Fuentes to work with the family business,” she boasted. “That makes me very proud to be learning the business like those before me. I like to think that because the company is 100 years old, that makes me year 101. I am the new generation.” She is bringing a new generation of ideas with her, specifically online social media marketing. Before she joined the company, they did not have a website, a Facebook page or a Twitter account. “When I showed my grandfather Facebook he asked me why I just can’t call people or send them a letter,” she laughed. “now he gets it. He doesn’t get it in that he understands how to use Facebook completely, but he understands that it is important to the future of the company. Through social networking, we can form a strong international Fuente cigar community from right here in Tampa. And with cigar rights constantly under threat by the federal government, online social networking is more important than ever. Besides using it to market the Fuente name and products, Liana uses it to rally cigar aficionados to fight against some of the oppressive anti-cigar laws being passed or suggested. Of course, online social networking will never replace the joy of travelling to cigar shows and conventions around the nation and meeting fans of Fuente cigars face to face. “That is the best part of my job,” said Liana. “I meet people who share amazing stories with me about what our cigars mean to them–stories about memories of enjoying an Opus X with their father who has since passed away, celebrating the birth of their child with one or, my favorite, meeting veterans who said during their downtime they would smoke an Opus X and immediately be transported in their mind back home to a calmer time in their life when they would enjoy one with their friends and family. These veterans have told me that the cigars really helped them relax during stressful times overseas. To think that Fuente cigars are part of so many good memories reminds me how lucky I am to be a part of this family and its business. “I have the best job in the world.” AUgUST/SePTeMBeR



by Paul Guzzo


n the early 1900s, if a resident of ybor City found the symbol of the Black Hand on the door of their place of business or their residence, or received a letter from an agent of the Black Hand, trouble would soon follow. The Black Hand symbols varied greatly in design. Some were an open hand, others a closed fist, and others still showed a hand with a knife. All the symbols were painted upon the door in black paint or ink. And all the symbols meant the same thing–kidnapping, arson or death was coming. The Black Hand originated in the late 1800s in Sicily where it was referred to by its Italian name, Mano Negro. It was a precursor to the mafia, a ruthless bunch of hoodlums who would terrorize and rob anyone they targeted. They were hired guns. Corrupt politicians were known to employ them to intimidate their enemies. Businessmen would use them to run their competitors out of town. And those owed money would use them to collect. The symbol was often left on the door with a note explaining what needed to be done for the target to avoid death. The Black Hand never bluffed. The organization has long been disputed by mafia historians. Some have claimed that the Black Hand had no central leadership and individuals and small groups adopted the known symbol as a scare tactic. Others have claimed they did have a central leadership, as the mafia did. Still others have claimed that it was so organized that it had a training facility to teach extortion methods to young members and that the Black Hand leaders in Sicily were actually the ones telling the U.S. mafia what to do during its heyday; they were puppet masters and the famous Mafioso leaders in the U.S. were simply their puppets. When Sicilians arrived in the United States, the Black Hand was among them, bringing their extortion methods to the various cities in which Italian immigrants settled. Tampa was among them. The following are articles published in the early 1900s detailing the Black Hand’s activities in Tampa: April 21, 1909 Blufton Chronicle “Black Hand Slays Merchant” Italian of Tampa Shot Down by Two Hidden Assassins. The assassination of Giuseppe Ficarotta, a wholesale grocery merchant, and one of the most prominent and wealthy members of the Italian colony in Tampa, Fla, added the third of a series of murders which have been charged to the Black Hand there during the present year. Ficarotta was 32


going to his home from his place of business at a late hour and was shot by two men from ambush with shotguns loaded with heavy slugs. He was instantly killed and the assassins, dropping their weapons, fled. Ficarotta’s two young children, a boy and a girl, were with him at the time but neither was hit. Ficarotta’s relatives say they know no cause for the murder. May 12, 1909 Evening Independent “Eager for Death: Ybor City Newspapermen Defy the Black Hand When Threatened” Jacinto Bombin Hopes They Will Not Disappoint Him, as He Longs for Such a Glorious End That Editor Carlos Manuel Pinera and his entire staff, seven in all, will be assassinated unless “El Intruso,” an Ybor City weekly paper, is discontinued immediately, is the purport of an unsigned letter received by Mr. Pinera several days ago. The letter is written in the Sicilian language on cheap paper and badly scrawled with an old pen and is now resting in a vault, where Editor Pinera placed it for safekeeping. The writer states that the letter is from “The Silencers” and “marked with the cross which means death.”

York and Policemen Graves and Sutton. Policeman Graves doing the actual arrested with Lieutenant Thomas and Chief of Police Henderson engineering the plot for capture. The letter received by Mr. Vega came to him at the West Tampa post office Wednesday morning and the envelope was postmarked “West Tampa, 8 p.m., Aug. 28.” The letter, which is written in Italian, was interpreted at Chief Henderson’s office last night. It read:

Whether the communication is from The Black Hand Society or not is a matter of conjecture in Ybor City, but the gentlemen threatened do not appear to be at all frightened. El Intruso prints the letter with sarcastic comments, while Jacinto Bombin, business manager, in a communication printed in El Diario de Tampa, ridicules the letter and its authors. “Let them kill us if they want to,” he says. “I, for one, am not afraid to die, and sudden death is much better than slow death by consumption or other diseases. All I ask is that they kill me quick with one good thrust home. One moment more and I shall shake hands with Saint Peter! I hope they won’t disappoint me, as I have set my heart on this glorious prospect!” CCM note: We are looking for the archive to find out if the threat was ever carried out. August 31, 1917 Evening Independent “Black Hand Agent Is Captured With Extortion Money In Hand” Caught in the act of attempting to obtain money that he solicited through a “black hand” letter addressed to Celestino Vega, a prominent cigar manufacturer, Fernando Maseda was placed under arrest last night under sensational circumstances at the Centro Español club on Seventh Avenue. The arrest was made by Detective Lieutenant Thomas, Lieut. 34


“Mr. Celestino Vega: This society of the black hand demands of you $1,500 on Thursday of this week in a tin can solidly sealed and which is to be placed in the water tank of the first toilet of the Spanish casino. If you don’t, your son will be murdered. If not this month, whenever we can. If we can’t do it here, he will be murdered wherever you take him. “We never ask for money but once. Do not communicate this even to your best friend nor to your wife, as everything gets to be known around, and if you tell anything about it, it will go worse for you. “The money shall be in $10 bills. “Beware of your own talk. “Take the can wrapped up in paper so as to disguise it. “Be careful that you don’t say a word, not even to your own mother, or your son will be murdered. “(Signed) Mano negro.” “Mano Negro” is the signature for the Black Hand. Written below and across the paper is this: “We always carry out what we say.” The paper is also burned in two places and marked with a line of daggers. When Mr. Vega had read the letter he went immediately to Chief Henderson’s office for advice. Detective Lieutenant Thomas was called in consultation and Wednesday afternoon slipped into the Spanish casino and made an inspection of the lavatory. Then, returning to headquarters, he made a map of the place, which he showed to Chief Henderson. Yesterday morning the chief and Lieutenant Thomas met Mr. Vega in the chief’s office and arranged their plans. They agreed upon a time when Mr. Vega was to deposit the package as requested and they set their watches so there should be no mistake in the time. They told Mr. Vega to go to the casino at his usual time and to have the package with him, carrying it in his hand so that it might be noticed by any one on the lookout for him and, at exactly 8:45 o’clock to go into the toilet room and deposit it in the water tank, and also pour a bottle of indelible red ink into the tank and they would do the rest.

Chief Henderson was taken sick yesterday and left final arrangements to Lieutenant Thomas. At 7:30 o’clock last night, together with Lieutenant York and Officers Graves and Sutton, they left the headquarters and went into a machine to Eighth Avenue and Fifteenth Street and, by agreement, sent Officer Graves into the lavatory. This was at 8:45. They gave him instructions and then the other three officers took their places on the outside of the building at different points but within calling distance. Officer Graves had a whistle with him. Everything went as planned. Mr. Vega deposited the package at 8:45 as instructed and then went to his home. Forty-five minutes afterwards the man who was subsequently arrested, walked into the lavatory, stood up and reached into the water tank, extracting therefrom the package. He tore some paper from around it and was about to open the can when Graves walked in and the man attacked him. Graves blew his whistle and the other police officers were immediately on hand and in time to see the man with the package in his hands and that his hand was red from the ink poured into the tank. He was taken immediately to headquarters and, after an examination by Lieutenant Thomas, wrote a confession and signed it. He was then placed in a cell. Mr. Vega was sent for and came to headquarters, where he identified the man as one who had worked for him as a packer for the last four years and was much surprised to see him. Maseda admitted writing the letter but declared that no one was in the plot with him. He will be given a hearing at 9 o’clock this morning. Milo Vega, the young son of Celestino Vega, who was threatened in the letter, is only about 14 years of age. Last spring he was elected king of the May festival in a contest with other school children and was crowned with pomp and ceremony by Mayor McKay at the exercise held at Plant Field. 36


Love him or hate him, there is little doubt that if you are a Floridian who follows the issues affecting our state and country, you always pick up the paper when it has a headline about U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. He seems to be in the middle of everything. And whether you agree with his views or not, it is hard not to be impressed with the upward trajectory his political career has taken. Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Rubio. At age 41 he’s already served as member of the Florida House of Representatives, is currently a U.S. Senator, and is a rumored candidate for Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate. But Rubio has never before told the full story of his unlikely journey, with all the twists and turns that brought him to this point in his life. He recently released a book, “An American Son,” detailing these experiences. On a recent stop in Tampa, promoting his book, Cigar City Magazine sat down with the potential future vice president. CCM: How do you feel about these FDA regulations they are trying to place on the cigar industry? Rubio: I don’t support that. In fact, that is a pretty strong bipartisan position. The cigar industry is part of my heritage and such an important part of our economy in Florida. We’ve already lost a major cigar manufacturer here in Tampa and we hope to avoid that in the future. CCM: So you’re going to fight for the cigar industry? Rubio: We are. Like I said, the good news is that it is a bipartisan position. I feel good about our chances to win but like anything else in Congress it could take a while. and my book kind of got caught up in it. CCM: What resistance can we expect from you on healthcare? Rubio: It is a middle class tax increase. The other day I went to the Senate floor and gave this chilling thought–if you are a married couple with two children, own a small business and make $95,000 a year, you are going to have a $2,000 a year tax increase when this law is fully implemented; you are going to owe the IRS $2,000 if you cannot afford to buy health insurance. At a time when our economy is not growing and small businesses are struggling to survive, that is just a devastating blow. So that alone is a reason to be against us. There are other 38


reasons–it grows the debt and I think it will deteriorate the quality of medical care in America. CCM: The governor (Rick Scott of Florida) said he will resist the program. Rubio: Well the governor is talking about the state portion of it, which is the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. The court ruled they can’t force the state government to do that. It’s understandable why states are reluctant because this grows the bottom line. In essence the states are going to have to come up with the money to make up the difference in future years. That is money they are going to have to raise taxes on or money they are going to have to take away from education or transportation or other worthy programs. So the states have reason to be concerned. Look, we have a health insurance problem in America and it needs to be confronted and solved and I think the way to confront and solve it is along the lines of the ideas I had when I was running for office and ideas I continue to talk about. every American should be able to buy health insurance with tax free money the way their employee buys it for them. They should be able to buy health insurance from any company in any state in America that will sell it to them. Small companies should be able to get together with other small companies and pull together to buy health insurance for their employees. We should incentivize the states to take on tort reform so through reckless litigation we don’t increase the cost of medical care in the United States. CCM: What is your main message you want to share while on this book tour? Rubio: The book is a tribute to the America Dream and I do it through the experiences of my mother, my father and my grandfather and the struggles and sacrifices they went through. For my parents, the American dream was the ability to give us the chance to do things they themselves never had the chance to do; that was the purpose of their life. When you sit down and write a book that so heavily leans on your family history you come to understand your parents were once your age and when they were your age they once had hopes and dreams for themselves. For my parents, that was impossible, so their whole life became about giving us the chance to do the things they never had the chance to do and that is thanks to America. That is why the book is called “An American Son.” CCM: Do you think you are getting a political bump from the book? Rubio: We came out with a book when the book was ready. People who don’t agree with me on the issues are still not going to agree with me on the issues. Look, this is a free country. There are going to be plenty of people who don’t agree with me on the issues. The book really is not a political book. It wasn’t intended to be a political book. Although I do touch on some policy, really the book is about the American Dream and I hope that no matter if you are Republican or Democrat, while you may not agree with me on some issues you will identify with the stories in the book. We are all Americans in the end and I think we are unified hopefully by the desire to leave our country better than it is today.

For more photos on this event and other events, visit and look for our Facebook page! 40


MAMA KNOWS GOT A QUESTION FOR MAMA? EMAIL HER AT: INFO@CIGARCITYMAGAZINE.COM Dear Mama, It seems that I can never do any thing right in the eyes of my Cuban grandmother. She asked me to buy her an “apollo mop.” I searched every store and could not find this type of mop. I finally decided to buy her one of those battery-operated mops with the automatic dispensing cleaner and disposable floor pads. When I gave it to her, she said that I had wasted my money and insisted I return it and get her an “apollo mop.” I explained that I tried but no one carries them. She made me take her to the bodega down the street. She came out of the store waving a stick and rag and telling me emphatically “This is a apollo mop!” It was a long t-shaped stick with a white rag? -Frustrated & Aggravated Dear Frustrated Your abuela was looking for a “palo”(stick) and rag mop; also known as a “trepador.” Wise up–the palo/rag method of mopping is the best invention since rolled toilet paper and works without batteries–and since your frustrated you can use the batteries for something else! -Mama Dear Mama, My mother and I are having a discussion about what part of town we live in. I think we are technically in Ybor City, but I’m not sure of the boundaries anymore since the area is changing. Can you help us settle this? -Family Feud Dear Family Feud It’s not a matter of boundaries…it’s a matter of poultry. Do any of the neighbors that live across the street, behind you or on either side of you have chickens? If they do, then you live in Ybor City!

Dear Mama I recently took my elderly Sicilian aunt shopping at a boutique for “weight challenged” women. A lovely stout woman was also there shopping and came out of the dressing room to look at herself in the three-way mirror. My aunt smiled at her and said, “ I like that dress on you because it doesn’t make you look so fat!” The lady politely smiled back and told her thank you. I have never been so mortified and told my aunt later she should not have said that. I can’t return to this store, so can you please recommend another boutique? -Still In Hiding Dear Hiding Are you insinuating that I know where a store of this nature would be because I am overweight? You have some nerve scolding your aunt…she was complimenting the lady!!! Go check the yellow pages and leave me alone. -Mama 42


circa 1964

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.