Cuban cigar legend Alejandro Robaina dies aged 91
Cuba's most famous cigar maker, Alejandro Robaina, has died aged 91.
Mr Robaina, the only grower to have a brand of Cuban cigars named after him, had been a roving ambassador for the country's state-run cigar industry.
But more typically, he could be found on his small farm in the Vuelta Abajo region of western Cuba, tending his beloved tobacco plants.
He was famous for their quality and always told visitors: you have to love the land and care for it.
If Cuba's hugely profitable state-run cigar industry had a face in recent years, it was that of Don Alejandro Robaina, says the BBC's Danny Aeberhard.
Veils of cotton
And what a face this venerable gentleman had - bronzed and deeply wrinkled, like one of his prized, dried tobacco leaves, he adds.
Although he met kings and celebrities, this modest man was perhaps more comfortable greeting visitors to his smallholding in Vuelta Abajo.
There he would show people how to nurture the plants, protecting them from the fierce glare of the Cuban sun with veils of cotton cloth.
Their quality was legendary. When the tobacco grows, he said, it talks to you, telling you what it needs - and you must listen.
Sunday, April 18, 2010