At The Depot we are asked almost every day when Cuban cigars will be available. Yes, the United States and Cuba are opening embassies in each other’s country; nevertheless, America’s embargo against the importation of Cuban goods remains in effect. Although President Obama was able to modify the rules slightly to allow American tourists the right to bring back up to $100 of cigars, at current prices that’s only three to five Cubans.
What most cigar smokers want is what Cigar Aficionado magazine has advocated for years – namely, get rid of the embargo altogether! That’s because Cuba has the best tobacco-growing soil anywhere, the same Caribbean weather conditions as Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, plus great tobacco expertise. But, alas, getting rid of the embargo ain’t going to happen for at least two years because it would literally take an act of Congress, as well as Presidential approval. Republicans, who control Congress and want to gain the Presidency next year have traditionally relied on the Florida vote, and in turn on Cuban-American support in the Miami area, who hate the Castro brothers. The catch is that while those older Cuban-Americans want no relaxation of the embargo, the younger generation want to open Cuba up … and most of them voted for Obama the last time around.
So Republicans are in a bind. They don’t want to forsake their elderly Cuban-American supporters in the swing state of Florida. (In fact, Marco Rubio, one of the leading GOP candidates for President, is adamantly against getting rid of the embargo even though he is part of the younger Cuban generation.) On the other hand, the GOP, which has attempted to restrict women's reproductive rights, doesn't need to also restrict men's cigar smoking rights. So the bottom line is (listen to this Kenny Batewell) – next year get rid of your Republican biases and join The Depot and Cigar Aficionado in voting for Hillary or whoever the Democratic candidate turns out to be for President.
_______________ Footnote: For anyone interested in Cuban history from the Battle of San Juan Hill (where African-American ground troops – not Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders – played the key roll, up until Castro’s takeover from the dictator Batista in 1959, chat up Jerry at The Depot.
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