Gilberto Pérez Carrillo

It takes natural talent to impregnate cigars with a brand of Cuban tradition. Perceived by smokers, both national and foreign, the gift of those who twist them comes out above the layers of the cigar and makes them unique in the world market.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- But if quality is not added to this label, then we are not talking about the same cigars; and the fact is that all those who dedicate themselves to this work of manufacturing incorporate in their algorithm, as the fundamental key, the good work in their elaboration, reality from which the young Gilberto Perez Carrillo does not escape.

Recognized as the best tobacco twister of the Vidal Navas Fernández Export Factory, belonging to the municipality of Puerto Padre, in this province, the young man of almost 40 years has been working in this enclave for about 20 years.

Until now, he has dedicated his working life to being a pure-bred tobacco grower and that, as he confesses, he did not inherit from anyone, since he was the first in his family to work directly with the cigars, a tradition that his sisters and nephews now join him in the same "Vidal Navas."

Gilberto doesn't talk much, he works a lot. It was hard for this journalistic team to get the words out of him to tell us his work, even as he spoke his hands did not stop working.

"There are no secrets," he told us, "only working and sacrificing every day is the key. This tobacco twister knows very well the importance of his productive result and that is why he says that every day he makes an effort so that "we can send more tobacco abroad and with it, the more currency to our national economy," he said.

"Every day I make about 130 cigars, but now we are sacrificing to increase the numbers and I make about 20 or 30 more, above my personal plan. That is my contribution in these times when we must think as a country and not just as a slogan, but as facts."

He entered this facility as an assistant, "from there I saw how tobacco was made and I liked it. Professors Alexis and Yamilé, from Holguín, were in charge of teaching me how to twist. Since then I have been doing my best, trying to raise my level every day so that they continue to be in the world's preference."

How do you achieve such quantities with a distinguished finish? "With time, one improves the technique, one tries to make the cigar fit better, more beautiful, as perfect as possible.

"It's easy for me, when you've been working for several years even with your eyes closed you can do it. You only have to do it with the use of your techniques and requirements which are fundamental.

"The tobacco shop is a family, every time you come in here it's like you're making your day, I sit down and start producing. The smell is what gives me the most desire to work; I then perceive the very elixir that smokers feel, but instead of consuming them, it incites me to make them."