I am Jorge Doctsch, the grandson of the official cigars roller for Ernesto “Che” Guevara. My grandma, Natividad Vega that used to work at the “El Rey del Mundo” cigar factory.
The factory was located across the street from the National syndicate of the Cuban workers (CTC or Central de Trabajadores de Cuba). Ernesto (Che) was the Secretary of Industry for the Cuban government. He used to visit the syndicate quite often, and since he was a very enthusiastic smoker, he would visit the factory just as well.
My Grandma had worked in the factory for many years and had built a great reputation; soon she became the roller of choice for the famous commandant's cigars. During the Cuban missile crisis, Che established his center of operations in a cave in the province of Pinar del Rio, called the “Cueva de los Portales”.
He moved my grandma to the cave to roll his cigars, giving her the opportunity to witness an important piece of the Cuban-American history first hand. Towards the end of the eighties, when I was 11 years old, she was illegally rolling cigars at home for the black market, and so, I asked her to teach me.
She learned and worked at her profession since she was only 12 years old, her invaluable experience and passion for her work was the strongest influence in my career. Finally, briefly describing my experience, I worked as a cigars roller for the Romeo y Julieta, J. Canon, and the biggest, H. Upmann factories; where I was a category 7th roller, the highest in the field. It's been over two decades from the time I started in the business since 1987.
My experience allowed me to stay in a respected position within a highly competitive profession . In 1999 I sought asylum in the United States, since then I have been very involved in the U.S. industry and it has led me to visit more than thirty-five states and some foreign countries since 2003 offering my expert services and bringing the art of making cigars . This is a new project where my company wants to change the industry for the future .