What originally drove me to live in Latin America wasn’t the sex, sun and salsa. Rather, it was a fascination with the politics, culture and society in this part of the world.
My interest started in university with a socioeconomics course. Insufferable Marxist indoctrination aside, it was an engaging class and responsible for igniting my enthusiasm for Latin America. I probably never would have bothered to take the jump to live in LATAM if I hadn’t taken the class.
Credit where credit’s due.
Now for something a bit different.
Not many people know this about me, but I used to work as a cigar salesman.
Well, I was actually more of an ‘exporter.’ It was my job to find a way to ship Cuban cigars to the United States from Canada without them getting seized by customs.
I must say, I was very good at it. One year and thousands of shipments. Nothing ever got caught.
More on that later.
Through my experience, I was able to learn a thing or two about cigars and lucky enough to try a multitude of varieties from different countries.
Here are some of my favourites.
No one is ever going to entirely agree on a “safest cities” list.
First of all, it’s hard to get a read on these things. Official crime statistics simply can’t be trusted in Latin America. I raise my eyebrows in amusement when journalists claim that Mexico City has a lower murder rate than cities like Washington D.C or Boston, erroneously assuming that Mexican law enforcement agencies report murder rates with the same accuracy as American law enforcement agencies. Also, many people in Central and South America don’t bother to report crimes such as robbery (or, in some cases, even murder) because they either don’t trust law enforcement, or they know that law enforcement is so inefficient that the perpetrators are unlikely to ever be caught anyway.
Second, personal experience tends to color perception.
The second-largest city in Cuba and the birthplace of the revolution. Many Haitians and Jamaicans settled here before Fidel took …