Friday, July 11, 2014

Holograms for Cuban Cigars

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Cuba is perfecting holographic seals to prevent the sale of counterfeit cigars, which the international black market offers to visitors for a paltry sum compared to prices determined by the official marketing network. Today, any tourist walking down the street in Havana, a major tourist destination, will probably hear three deals whispered in their ear: sex, habanos, and rum. However, sometimes those cigars are imitations made from low-quality leaves.  -from NotiCen, July 10, 2014

How can you tell if that famous habano cigar you bought from a street vendor in Havana or in the cigar store in Zurich or Buenos Aires is real? If you're a regular tourist--and not a connoisseur--you might not know until you  actually light up.  

Cigars are serious business in Cuba, and the government is very keen on ensuring that the prized habanos are of the highest quality That's why authorities are in the process of developing  holographic seals to prevent the sale of counterfeit cigars. The effort is directed not as much at the domestic market but international markets. "Cuban tobacco remains one  the fundamental sources for millions of dollars in income for the island, is a source of employment for more than 150,000 farmers, and generates impressive sales in the more remote parts of the world,"  Read more from Daniel Vázquez in this week's issue of NotiCen.  And there is more information about this prized product in The Cuban Cigar Website

Also in LADB This Week
One of the most significant developments in South America in recent weeks (and no, it's not the FIFA World Cup!) is the decision of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet's administration to cancel the polemical HidroAysén power project, a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric complex planned for a mostly untouched area of Chile's far-southern Región de Aysén. The ruling ended years of on-again, off-again legal limbo regarding the costly venture/

In Mexico,  the Congress approved the secondary laws that allow the government to implement reforms to the telecommunications sector.  But there are mixed opinions on whether the changes will truly benefit the citizenry.  Some international organizations like the OECD believe reforms to the telecommunications, energy and other sectors are essential to help the Mexican economy grow.

In Costa Rica, one of the issues is to maintain the Central American country secure. That is why Costa Rican authorities are continuing with an effort of cooperation with Colombia and the United States

Finally, in Argentina, the courts have initiated legal proceedings against journalists and media companies accused of working with the Argentine dictators in 1976-1983 to broadcast, both in and outside Argentina, a false, bucolic image of a nation whose dictators were committed to "re-educating the subversives in order to return them to society mentally sound."

-Carlos Navarro
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