Cohiba Cuban Cigars
President Obama announced on December 17, 2014 that he would pursue full diplomatic relations with Cuba. The new policy is basically an admission that the attempt to isolate Cuba in the hope that the Cuban people would rise against Castro’s regime has failed. A new policy of engagement with the Cuban people will probably be much better for the U.S. and for Cuba, just like Nixon’s policy of engagement with China led to improved commerce, better international relations and the end of the cold war.
Cuba was a popular destination for U.S. tourists before Castro’s revolution. Ernest Hemingway wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Old Man and the Sea” while living in Cuba. Cuban products, such as sugar, cigars and rum could be found in many American homes. The U.S. embargo changed all that and caused Cuba to seek economic relief and military aid from the Soviet Union. Following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 by the U.S., Cuba requested nuclear arms from the Soviet Union that eventually resulted in the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.
The renewal of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba will have many ramifications. Tourism and commerce will certainly flourish, but it will also be necessary to re-establish trademark protections that were not respected during the 54 years of enmity that started with the U.S. embargo of 19 October 1960. One of the tasks for improving diplomatic relations will be the restoration of the Cohiba brand name for marketing of Cuban cigars.