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Take Mr. Timothy E. Wirth's diatribe on the greatness of the United Nations in your February issue. I couldn't disagree with him more. In fact, I feel that the United States should not pay another dime to this organization. While it is easy to consider the U.N. a benign and diverse assembly of well-meaning people, with its four-point charter seeking international peace, friendly relations, human rights and "harmonizing" the actions of nations, this is not the case. The U.N. is really for a far less-free world. The U.N. is moving far beyond its original charter and is now acting as the keeper of worldwide standards, everything from water quality to firearms ownership to telecommunications. Much of this work is done via a totally closed process. Do we want to be part of an organization that tries to enforce its will on the sovereignty of the United States? Do the people at the U.N. know better than our own Constitution? And why should U.S. soldiers, who have taken an oath to defend this country and only this country, be put under the command of foreign officers? The U.N. is an organization far out of control and believes in many policies that are contrary to the principles of this country.
Then we have the article by Mr. Tom Wicker in the April issue. In this thinly veiled attempt to write a balanced article about the transition from one administration to the next, Mr. Wicker has succeeded in using your magazine as a soapbox to bash President George W. Bush in specific and Republicans in general. He defines compromise as giving in on what you believe and feels that President Bush should have started his presidency by giving in on his principles. I believe that a person is elected because of what he stands for (regardless of the margin of victory) and the people have a right to expect that he will do the things he says he is going to do when elected. That is EXACTLY what President Bush has done. Why vote for a person, if you know that as soon as he is in office he will abandon what he has promised? Haven't we had enough of that in recent years?
Wicker goes on to insult President Bush by saying Vice President Dick Cheney is "look[ing] more and more like the quarterback of the new Bush administration." I could go on and on from his bashing of President Bush's appointments to suggesting that the so-called "religious right" caused the president not to appoint Democrats and liberals to high office. Why should President Bush appoint anyone who does not share his views to high office? This whole concept is ludicrous! Did ex-President Clinton ever appoint a conservative to high office? The whole article was so full of liberal pap it made me sick! Once again, I suggest that you pick your contributors more carefully so that the essence of Cigar Aficionado is not diluted.
Dominick Cassone
Northborough, Massachusetts
Editor's note: Thank you for your letter. Our Insights columns are not based on any political agenda. Rather, we offer viewpoints from across the political spectrum to provide food for thought and discussion.
Dear Marvin:
Thank God you have written yet another story on Cuba! I really enjoy the repeated focus on travel opportunities that do not exist for myself and most Americans. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed the May '99 edition outlining the Cuban embargo, political perspectives and the opinions of Americans born or having relatives in Cuba. It was very educational the first time. However, it was frustrating to see 38 percent of your last edition again dedicated to Cuba, not to mention other recent articles. What is the point in highlighting the Cuban nightlife, tobacco country, investments and resorts when it is illegal for Americans to travel there or invest? I'm sure this information is critical for Mr. Suckling to travel around Cuba sucking on Cuban smokes, but I found your detailed list of hotels and restaurants of no value. Your "Getting There" article seemed to say, "Well, you aren't allowed to go there, but you should anyway."
My pet rock and I were arguing over why you choose to focus on Cuba yet again. He says it's because of your magazine's connections with advertisers and other political interests you are pursuing on their behalf. But I say it was some other reason, perhaps because of your magazine's new format and target audience, where the topic of Cuba has high readership interest. So why the emphasis? It can't be out of reverence to Cuba, where the "best" cigars are still made. I would bet James, and most other readers would agree, that Cuban cigars aren't a good value compared to Dominican, Honduran and others made today.
One of the reasons I enjoy reading your magazine is to gain insight into the activities and lifestyles, some that I cannot currently afford, but may someday. I like your recent change towards more lifestyle content as well. But your repeated focus on Cuba is tiresome. I also believe a person shouldn't complain unless they put forth some suggestions. So I have two: either rename your magazine Cuba Aficionado, or focus instead on travel to other countries where my passport and visa will work.
Greg Schultz
Colorado Springs, Colorado

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