venezuela01Fuerte is Spanish for strong, and there are at least three applications of fuerte as a Venezuelan trait.

1. starting January 1, 2008, Venezuela has a new currency. The 'Bolivar fuerte' or 'strong bolivar'. It replaces the old currency, the Bolivar, as the zeros were getting out of hand. To pay 10,000 'old' bolivars for a cigar was extreme in any currency. The use of the word fuerte is meant to inspire confidence in the new currency, despite (or because of) the rampant inflation, political instability and economic uncertainty.

2. fuerte is a measure of taste and character of the cigar, and in recent years Venezuelan cigar production has set out to rival the quality of traditional Cuban product. When it comes to cigars, fuerte is a highly subjective word, but generally regarded to suggest 'full-bodied.', as with classic Venezuelan Vohiba Lancero, Cripin Patino, Bermudez, La Cumanese or Don Quixote. For American connoisseurs especially, the Venezuelan brands offer a Carribbean taste, which for the present, is quite legal; full-bodied, but not strong in the overpowering or especially spicy sense - fuerte.

3. Venezuelan culture is strong, tough, rugged, macho, and according to the Transparency Agency in Germany, (2008) the 'most corrupt' in Latin America.