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Cuba calling at trade fair

A lone stall at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) can give you a taste of coffee, cigars, rum — and all things distinctly Cuban, reports Jatin Anand.

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2009 23:56 IST
Jatin Anand

A lone stall at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) can give you a taste of coffee, cigars, rum — and all things distinctly Cuban.

Well, almost.

On their maiden visit to the annual business event, the Cubans have all this — and more on offer.

But if you want to have a puff of the famous Cuban cigar, you will have to wait.

The items are not for sale over the counter. But one can place orders at the stall.

Slowly and gradually opening up after economic reforms were initiated in the country in the early 90s, the Delhi trade fair was one opportunity the Cubans did not want to miss.

“After the economy opened-up post-1992, this is certainly one of the first times we are participating in an event as important as the trade fair in India,” said Luis Javier Baro, First Secretary, Academic and Scientific Affairs at the Cuban Embassy.

Manned by a single representative from a two-man team at a time — and with salsa music playing in the background — the stall offers information on exquisite tourist destinations like Havana and Santiago de Cuba.

It also displays some of the most exotic products from the Caribbean nation.

“We want both India and the world to see what we as a culture have on offer,” said Eduarado Iglesias, Deputy Chief of Mission.

“So, we decided to display some specialties like marmalade, coffee, rum and, of course, Cuban cigars. These are products for which we are renowned the world over. The idea is to give visitors a flavour of our country,” said Iglesias.

“I believe Cuba is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world,” said Dr. S. Sareen, a resident of Faridabad.

“Being a cigar connoisseur, I just had a long chat with Mr. Baro about the new, mechanised process of manufacturing cigars being followed there,” he said.

Cuba is one of four international first-timers at the trade fair.

The others are Iraq, Papua & New Guinea and Nigeria.