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Can Brazil sustain its integrated system?

While cigarette smuggling primarily affects cigarette manufacturers, Brazilian leaf dealers are facing an entirely different set of challenges. The U.S. dollar—the currency in which they are paid for...

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Staggering numbers

This morning, I received an unsigned e-mail from a person who says he has studied Paraguayan cigarette production. The writer estimates 2008 cigarette consumption at 2.43 billion cigarettes. There are...

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Doubts

It's really mine, officer As we get closer to Foz do Iguaçu, the Brazilian border town facing Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, I am starting to have doubts. When we first proposed investigating Latin...

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Tired

You’d think we’d know better after more than a decade of international business travel, but we’ve underestimated the size of Brazil and overestimated the number of appointments a person of flesh and...

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Bedlam

Today’s the day. I wash and shave like a holy warrior preparing for battle. But just in case divine protection is withheld, I also put on my running shoes. Under normal circumstances, I jog a...

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To the factory

Pablo motions for me to have a seat behind the counter of the money exchange booth and starts making calls on his cell phone. The director of the factory turns out to be in Asuncion, Paraguay’s...

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Buenos Aires

As I write these words, Noel and I are enjoying the evening sun on a terrace in Buenos Aires, hundreds of miles from the tri-border area. Described as the Paris of South America—but with palm...

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Meanwhile, back at the gate

Pablo tells me to remain in the car as he walks up to the gate. He talks with the guard, occasionally pointing in my direction. I am not sure how to behave. Should I wave, pretending to be a regular...

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Bloodbath

As the plane taxis toward the runway for the flight back to Miami, I reflect on our mission. While I learned a lot about the illicit trade from legitimate manufacturers, I didn’t manage to talk my way...

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Thank you

Noel and I are back in the Tobacco Reporter office now, and this will be my last official post. I would like to thank you for joining us on this exciting journey. Your virtual presence added a whole...

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