February 22, 2024

How Cuban cigars bankroll North Korean overseas missions

Slinging stogies has long been a reliable side hustle for DPRK envoys, who regularly abuse their diplomatic privileges

On Havana’s northern edge sits the Malecón, an iconic roadway lined with pastel-colored baroque buildings on one side and an aging seawall on the other. Just a short distance away, in historic “Old Havana,” black-market cigar traders disguised as tourists busily push high-end Cubans for a fraction of store price.

Among the crowds, one might even spot some unexpected customers: North Korean diplomats.