Puro Sabor 2022, the Nicaraguan cigar festival, has been canceled.
A press release from the Cámara Nicaragüense de Tabacaleros (Nicaragua Tobacco Chamber), which hosts the festival, cited health as the reason for canceling.
“We certainly miss the direct contact with the Premium Nicaraguan tobacco lovers who used to visit us every year, but we decided that the health of our collaborators and visitors is more important,” said Claudio Sgroi, president of the Cámara Nicaragüense de Tabacaleros, in a press release.
Puro Sabor is one of three cigar festivals held during January and February each year. The other two—Cuba’s Festival del Habano and the Dominican Republic’s Procigar—are both scheduled to take place next year.
This will become the third time in four years Puro Sabor has been canceled. The 2019 version was canceled due to social unrest, the 2020 festival was held, and this year’s festival was canceled due to COVID-19.
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicaragua is holding a widely-criticized election on Nov. 7. Just Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken described the election as a “sham election devoid of credibility, by silencing and arresting opponents, and, ultimately, by attempting to establish an authoritarian dynasty unaccountable to the Nicaraguan people.”
While earlier in the year some Nicaraguan cigar manufacturers expressed concerns to halfwheel regarding potential disruptions to the cigar business surrounding the election, the level of concern seems to have died down regarding the impacts on the cigar business. For its part, the Cámara Nicaragüense de Tabacaleros made no reference to the election.
Its press release also mentioned the virtual seminars Puro Sabor held throughout 2021 though did not say if those would continue for 2022.
Patrick Lagreid contributed to this story.