Gavino Gutiérrez used his imagination and business acumen to open the door for the vibrant cigar industry that turned Tampa into the Cigar Capital of the World.
Between 1936 and 1940, the Federal Writers Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), visited Tampa to take oral histories from residents. They collected several writings from residents. This particular writing comes from Enrique Pendás, a well-known cigar manufacturer. The narrative below contains his personal feelings regarding the politics of the time and other controversial topics. Some words are illegible, so question marks (?) or suggested words in parentheses are used in their place.
I grabbed a rung and slowly climbed the ladder to my chair on the tribunal. With a heavy heart, I pondered how I would tell the workers what I knew. As they sat in the gallery quietly waiting for me to begin reading, I heard the sharp sound of their chavetas cutting cigars. Taking a deep breath, my lungs filled with the tobacco aroma that always permeated the air. A smell that, strangely enough, I like. Combined with the scent of the Cuban coffee the workers drink, it gives me a warm feeling and produces special memories of growing up in this cigar city.