A CUBAN CIGAR MADE IN US


Tobacco and slides | 2009

In 1962 President Kennedy signed a decree banning all trade with Cuba.
Since then it has been forbidden to possess and smoke Cuban cigars in the U.S. A breach of this can provide up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of 1 million dollars.

I traveled in spring 2009 to Cuba to find the tobacco fields Fidel Castro used for his own cigar brand Cohiba. From Cuba, via Copenhagen I smuggled Cuban cigar tobacco into the U.S. and had in Bronx, New York, five hand-rolled cigars made. These Cuban Cigars(Cohiba’s) Made in U.S. shows how an artistic practice may represent freedom and behave flexibly in relation to the big political agendas, and get 50 years “Communist scare” to move up in the finest smoke.

One day in 1961, shortly after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, JFK called his cigar-smoking press secretary Pierre Salinger into the Oval Office. "I need a lot of cigars," he declared. "How many, Mr. President?" Salinger asked. "About a thousand," Kennedy replied. "Tomorrow morning, call all your friends who have cigars and just get as many as you can." Salinger dutifully raced out to find as many H. Upmann petits as he could find. The following morning he received an urgent message requesting his immediate presence in the Oval Office. "How did you do on the cigars last night?" Kennedy asked. "Mr. President, I was very successful," Salinger replied. "I got eleven hundred." Hearing this, Kennedy opened a drawer in his desk and produced a decree banning all Cuban products from entry into the United States. "Good," he declared. "Now... I can sign this!"


Year of production | 2009
See it on youtube here or Vimeo here
The project is supported by The Danish Arts Agency
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