tobacco: havana, part 7

in viñales, we visited a tobacco plantation one day and a cigar factory the next.

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the tobacco barn the farmers hang the leaves to dry them tobacco seeds are very small

the process for rolling cigars is fairly straightforward: cut a leave to size, put other dried leaves into it, roll it, glue the edges down with a flavored glue, wrap it in another leaf, trim the ends – done.

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it all looks very artisanal and romantic, but when you go to the factory, you can see that the work is a little more monotonous. what we saw were rows of women stripping the bitter-tasting stems out of the tobacco leaves while a forewoman at the front read articles to them out of the party’s newspaper, granma. some of the women looked as weathered as the leaves themselves. (the men in the factory for the most part did the heavy lifting.)

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next: some arty black-and-white photos