In the past few days leading up to IPCPR 2015 in New Orleans, stories, rumors and mixed information began spreading around various cigar sites about the departure of Hirochi Robaina from Cubanacan and the fate of his successful new brand HR 1845 as well as Cubanacan’s factory. We have refrained on posting stories about this in order to get the facts and official statements straight first. The HR 1845 took the number 8 spot on our Top 25 list in 2014. It does appear that Robaina has left Cubanacan and joined with La Palina Cigars, and may not have gone about it the best way. Here is Cubanacan’s official response.
“July 12, 2015 – We at Cubanacan Cigars were surprised to find out from Greg Mottola of Cigar Aficionado that Friday afternoon, a week before our annual IPCPR tradeshow, that Hirochi Robaina and associates have new plans. We are very grateful to have had Hirochi Robaina grace us with his visits to the U.S and see firsthand the growth of an amazing project that our team has worked so hard to develop and honor his family legacy by presenting to U.S. cigar aficionado the opportunity to appreciate and fall in love with the HR brand.
Though we are all still in shock about Mr. Robaina’s decision, we are not surprised. Patience is a virtue and not simply the ability to wait, it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. Do not mistake our initial silence for acquiescence. We are deeply saddened that we even have to respond to actions that speak louder than words in the court of public opinion, and these actions do seem to be well planned and executed, having caused irreparable damage to our company.
While relations with the USA and Cuba have improved, let us not forget that an embargo is in place not just in goods and services but also for a US entity to employ or have any shared ownership with a Cuban national. We remained firm on this issue to never bend to any unreasonable demands. We have a substantial invested interest in the HR brand, a brand that we’ve manufactured and distributed to retailers across the nation and will continue to do so.
We are a small family run business with a great core group in sales and management who are enduring countless inquiries from all over. They are our rocks that maintain open dialogue with the hundreds of accounts they serve.
In the last day we have read statements given by the Gonzalez Aleman group about how they claim we have no factory and they have always made our cigars. Contrary to initial reports, history bears witness and no one will re-write our history as a company. We have been in factory operations since 2009, a full five years in operation before the Gonzalez Aléman family arrived and to insist that a new factory La Corona which was born not as such but as a expansion project we began in hopes to obtain a free zone status in late 2014. This project was based on the projections of company growth, and all of the paperwork for the process in Nicaragua was ENTRUSTED under the Gonzalez Aleman name to facilitate the process and later consolidate the raw material tobacco and relocate Cubanacan Cigars Factory S.A under one roof.
This process was completed in March 2015, and soon after some production of the Cubanacan brands, Soneros and HR was moved over while Cubanacan Cigars Factory S.A remained intact manufacturing the Mederos brand and some of the Cubanacan Lines along with the rest of our secondary production business. In April 2015 some of our production that was moved over to the new location, we discovered, was being held hostage in an attempt to leverage the success of HR, thus explaining the difficulty we encountered maintaining domestic inventory for retailers. This was also done to make unbelievable demands of ownership over both our businesses in the U.S and Nicaragua.
Trusting in a family that we believed had similar goals in a long term relationship was our flaw in this matter. Our kindness was taken for weakness. Our processes and production have stood firm and constant since we first opened our doors in 2009. In mid 2013, we welcomed and opened our doors to Omar Gonzalez Aléman to supervise our production and to utilize his expertise. In this arrangement we agreed to distribute his brand Soneros.
We hold dear the freedom of speech this nation grants us to have a voice, but along with it there are also consequences and we feel in this case these actions will have to be resolved not on the grounds of perception, confusion and internet fiction but on the grounds of facts presented through due process in a court of law. On behalf of the Mederos Family and Cubanacan Cigars we thank you all for the support received these past couple of days and look forward to seeing you soon at the IPCPR New Orleans.”