History, tradition and culture are playing lead roles in this edition that celebrates the 520th anniversary of Europeans’ encounter with tobacco in Cuba and also pays tribute to the Cohiba and Romeo y Julieta brands, this time around with Habanos, S.A. making two world launches as part of a policy aimed at developing new products trimmed to the needs and demands of the market. For a few days, the 14th Habano Festival becomes a meeting ground for lovers and followers of this genuine symbol of Cuba, ideal space to see friends, distributors, retailers and others; over 1,000 people coming from 60 nations sharing strategies and ideas, plans and commitments, in search of new outcomes and achievements. For those attending this festival the event turns out to be a party, an exceptional opportunity to get in touch with the excellences and basics of the Habano’s quality, its universe from the field all the way to the factories – tobacco planters and cigar rollers – makers of a longstanding history, builders of a lifestyle in which the Habano has been a forge of culture and identity. It’s highly rewarding for those who are somehow linked to the Habano realm to watch the results the company reaped in 2011, with a new surge in sales and with new perspectives and ideas for 2012 that we have included in this issue through an extensive interview with Habanos, S.A. co-president. Very special guests, like musicians Phil Manzanera and Jack Bruce, are bound to put on a good show by the hand of Cuban performer Augusto Enriquez during the opening night, also featuring the Sexto Sentido quartet. Great expectations have built on the presence of celebrated Spanish chef Sergio Torres, whose remarks are also contained in this issue with a brief interview for he has come to Havana for the dinner dedicated to the 520th anniversary of that first approach between Europeans and tobacco and that by means of cuisine will provide a chance to vindicate the impact that occurrence had on culture, on exchanges and the enrichment of culinary habits across the pond, with particular interpretations for the gastronomy of both Cuba and Spain. With this special issue, we are pleased to say it’s a tremendous privilege for our magazine to be a part, during these days, of the great Habano family – a legitimate national pride for everything it stands for – and for this fresh opportunity to delve deeper into its long history, which is also a part of Cuba’s history

Jose Carlos de Santiago