HAVANA — A Cuban cigar roller began Monday rolling a 70-meter (230-foot) cigar in an attempt to nearly double his previous Guinness world record, a spokesman said.
Working eight hours a day for nine days, 67-year-old Jose "Cueto" Castelar is hoping to break his 2009 record of a 43.38-meter-long (142-foot-long) stogie.
He hopes to complete his latest feat on May 3 and display it at the International Tourism Fair, which runs Monday-Saturday next week. It would be his fifth record in more than half a century of cigar-rolling.
"Cueto said that as long as he lives, the Guinness record has to be in Cuba," said his spokesman Amado de la Rosa. "He is very lively now and will get tired as the days go by, but he hopes to reach his goal."
The athletic-looking sexagenarian first learned to make cigars when he was 14 years old.
Hailing from the central province of Villa Clara, Castelar counts among his clients a Saudi prince and a wealthy Mexican businessman. He has two children with his wife Maria Diago.
Handmade Cuban cigars are considered to be the finest in the world. Tobacco is one of the communist island's top exports, along with nickel, biotech products, sugar, coffee and fruit.