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The Finance 'Tax' Guards

Each phase of production : planting, harvesting and transporting tabacco to be sold was rigidly controlled by the State Monopoly. Farmers and the finance guards were constantly at odds, in order to make a living farmers would have to grow more than was legally allowed or hide leaves that were trimmedk which should have bee destroyed. These excess leaves would be hidden in containers buried underground so they could be sold on the black market.

The conflict between the finance patrols made it necessary to bring men in from different areas to make contrrols. Rarely would a local be entrusted with duties in his own town. This arrangement simplified relationships and compliance; everyone could move more freely: the law to enforce rules and the locals to find ways to avoid them. When raccounting stories of outlaw activities and black market trading it's understood that growers could barely have a subsistance standard of living, they were forced to break laws in order to survive or at least have a fair repayment for their arduous efforts.

“We planted tabacco, tied it in bundles and brought it to the State Monoply wharehouses. But later we planted more tabacco and when we divided it up the guards were there watching us, they told us to 'repulir'-clean up and bury the lower quality remains,, we pretended to use shovels and chop up the leaves. We would bury tabacco until the finance guards left. We could sell the large leaves and bring the small ones to the warehouse; they paid more, they were used for cigar covers."

(Giuseppe C. Valstagna 1999)

 

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