"When did you last travel to Cuba?" the man demanded. "And when was the last time before that? And before that?"
Michael E. Miller José "Pepe" Montagne has battled Cuban lawyers over his cigars' trademark.
The questions cut through the decades. The room was bigger now. The windows were no longer barred. Men in suits had replaced soldiers in fatigues. And the crackle of firing squads had faded into history.
But for José "Pepe" Montagne, the interrogation echoed back to 1964. Back to when he was a baby. Back to when it was his father — not he — being hounded by Fidel Castro's henchmen.
"Are you a member of any organizations of Cuban-Americans?" the man in the suit continued. "Would you welcome the overthrow of the present Cuban government by force?"
Forty-one years after imprisoning his father, the Cuban government had now come for Pepe. In a law office high above Coral Gables, Florida, Castro's attorneys grilled him not about democracy or freedom of speech or civil rights, but about something even more dangerous for the revolution: cigars.More »