Miquel Barnet, President of the Fernando Ortíz Foundation, also Vice President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), attended for the first time the International Seminar that was contained within the framework of the Habano Festival to give a master conference.
The connection of the City of Havana, Cuba with the San Cristóbal de la Habana brand was the axis of his dissertation, which was based on the references provided by the chroniclers of the time of the discovery of the Cuban island, who assured that contact with tobacco did not make Europeans appreciate the value of the fragrant leaf at the time.
Tobacco was associated with the healing rites and religious beliefs of the natives – he noted. After the destruction of Aboriginal culture and mythology, the mythical-religious properties of inhaling leaf smoke were reduced to individual practices. This fact led to the eventual incorporation of the art of smoking among Europeans.
According to Barnet, the clues leading to the first tobacco smoker in Europe point to a crew member from Christopher Columbus’s first trip, who decided to take some samples of smoking tobacco with him in front of family and friends. However, that recklessness made the Holy Inquisition accuse of being possessed by the Devil.