Out of the Humidor

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Someday, at another time, I could fill you in on many anecdotes, stories and interesting facts about being the printer--from cigar bands to the embossed, colorful artwork inside and on the boxes--for the Cuban cigar industry.
Now, I'm more concerned with your naive, obviously ignorant and completely frivolous attitude on lifting the embargo on Fidel Castro and the Cuba he has virtually destroyed.
Our company was taken away--in fact, stolen--by the Castro government in October 1960, along with 300 to 400 other companies. Even the Catholic Church was taken away. There were no payments, nor have there been reparations of any kind, to recompense what was taken. We could not call the police about the theft. The stockholders of our company lost many millions of dollars. I'm sure that the losses suffered by the other companies which were taken over were up into the billions of dollars. And you want me and others like me to forget all that because some cigar smokers feel that they're deprived because they can't puff on Cuban leaf?
I smoke many of the other cigars available throughout the world, and I would throw up if I put a Cuban cigar in my mouth as long as Fidel Castro and his government are still in power.
Francis J. Sorg Jr.
Sedona, Arizona

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Dear Marvin:
It's 4:15 a.m. and time for a cigar! As a morning-drive radio personality with a 25-minute one-way trek to work, I can usually get through a Punch Rothschild or something similar before I get to the station. (If I'm late getting on the air, it must have been a particularly good cigar.)
Back at the station, it's become my happy duty to, whenever possible, spread The Gospel According to Marvin to my listeners. Reverend Marvin, keep preaching the Word, and may you not wind up like other evangelists--caught in a seedy hotel with a bunch of cheap cigars with their wrappers off.
Best wishes for a long and prosperous run.
Greg "The EggMan" Moore
Shannon and the Egg Man Show, KRXO-FM
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Dear Marvin:
Enjoying your magazine along with a great cigar is now and will always be one of the few diversions that makes life great. I, too, do not fit the profile as described in the premier issue. But who cares? Just the fact that I love the good life and always aspire for more should be enough. It's too bad that some took it the wrong way, but you can't reach everybody.
I am 26 years old and have been enjoying cigars for the past five or six years now. I must say that I have become a kind of snob on that issue, but it sure is fun. My license plate frame says, "Life is too short to smoke cheap cigars," and Marvin, you'd be happy to know that my love of wine is only challenged by that of cigars. They do, in fact, go well together. As I write this I am enjoying a cigar whose origin I won't mention, along with a ten-year-old Tawny. Life sure can get good sometimes.
Mike Vella
Sunnyvale, California

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Dear Marvin:
We would like to congratulate you on the success of CIGAR AFICIONADO. As cigar lovers we look forward to each issue with great anticipation. It has heightened our appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of cigars, one of life's great yet simple pleasures.
We have seen much written in the first three issues of CIGAR AFICIONADO regarding the United States' economic embargo of Cuba, mostly in favor of lifting the embargo. While we feel the embargo is the right policy, we respect differing viewpoints. We were offended, however, by a letter to the editor written by David Crowley, a political science major at the University of Montana, who opposes the embargo [Vol. 1, No. 3]. Mr. Crowley's lack of perspective is apparent, where he says, "I think it is an atrocity that I can't get a Cuban cigar in this country." Mr. Crowley's choice of words is unfortunate.
While we, too, would love to smoke Cuban cigars, we recognize that the cause of a free Cuba is more important. If truth be told, however, there is great ignorance in this country about the reality of the Cuban situation. For this reason, we would like the opportunity to express to you and your readers why we support the economic embargo against Cuba.
There is no question that the totalitarian Castro regime is one of the most repressive governments in the world today, where the rights of the Cuban people are repeatedly and systematically violated. The United Nations recently published a report documenting the Cuban government's abysmal human rights record and appointed a special envoy to investigate the situation further. The Castro government has refused to allow the United Nations representative into the country.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decrease in subsidies from Eastern-bloc countries, the Castro regime is struggling to remain in control. Most experts agree that a lifting of the embargo would first and foremost provide Castro with the funds necessary to reconsolidate his position in power.
Living in Miami, we have the opportunity to speak frequently with recent arrivals from Cuba. The vast majority of these people not only favor the U.S. embargo against the Cuban government, but also call for an international campaign similar to the one organized against the Republic of South Africa during the darkest days of apartheid. These recent arrivals tell us that the people of Cuba view the embargo as a symbol of hope, as someone standing up to Fidel Castro, something they cannot do in Cuba without fear of beatings, imprisonment or worse. If the embargo were lifted, it would be viewed by the Cuban people on the island merely as an expression that the United States has lost interest in Cuba.
What we want is for the Cuban government to recognize basic human rights and democratic freedoms. Castro will not do this if he can help it because he knows it will mean the end of his regime. International pressure, however, offers the best chance to give the Cuban people the freedom that they so richly deserve.
Javier Rodriguez
Luis Perez
Nicolas Gutierrez
Miami, Florida

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Dear Marvin:
My husband was delighted when he found the premier issue of your marvelous magazine. Out of curiosity I picked it up and read through it. I'm not a regular smoker, but I've often heard men rhapsodize about cigars. I wanted to know what the real allure was. The article that most caught my attention was David Shaw's startling story on the abuses he's suffered as a cigar smoker ["Where Can I Smoke in Peace", Vol. 1, No. 1]. I was outraged to learn so many people would so readily censure and even bodily attack a man for the simple act of smoking a cigar.
Up until very recently I was one of those women who prefers her husband to smoke outside. After reading Mr. Shaw's article I was so incensed that I felt like taking up cigar smoking as a weapon against the people who want to destroy individual freedom of choice.
An even better reason presented itself in the form of a major step forward in my career. I told my husband I wanted to celebrate with brandy and cigars. He took me to our local tobacconist where we decided on two that suited us, and then I was initiated into the pleasures of a good cigar. As I write this I'm finishing off an H. Upmann Demitasse. Thank you so much for helping me discover a new pleasure and a pleasant act of political defiance.
Lillian Csernica
Davenport, California

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Dear Marvin:
For as long as I can remember while growing up, I was always surrounded by relatives who smoked cigars. It was a tradition in my family that, after dinner, there was a mass exodus to the patio of our backyard of my dad, grandfather, great uncle and me.
William Mills Orlando, Florida, USA, June 13, 2013 7:37pm ET
Dear Marvin - Regarding the letter from Peter Worsham in the August issue, I lived in Havana from 1997 until 2000 as a member of the U.S. Interests Section. The GOOD cigars are indeed heavily controlled and expensive no matter where you buy them including Cuba. That said there was always counterfeit/seconds cigars to be had on the black market, but so easily available that the Cuban government had to be aware or complicit in their production and sale. In the end, although not top of the line cigars it was Cuban tobacco which I think is the best in the world.
Changing the subject, I just returned from a car trip to Eastern North Carolina and was surprised to see farm fields of growing tobacco. These same fields use to grow soy beans, cotton, and corn, while the owners were being paid NOT to grow tobacco. Can anyone tell me what has happened? Chinese demand? Domestic demand? Other?
Thanks for the fine magazine.

William Mills

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