Letters: Out of the Humidor
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Over the years that I have enjoyed Cigar Aficionado magazine, I have noticed your editorial policy generally is tilted toward normalizing relations with Cuba. The recent brutal crackdown on dissent has landed many freedom-searching Cubans in prison. Some have been executed. These brutal acts of violence cannot be glossed over by your publication. By promoting the purchase of state-owned Cuban cigars, you are aiding and abetting those who foster the systematic repression of human rights. Have courage and recommend that your readers boycott all Cuban products until this siege ends. The Iraqi people are better off without the dictator Saddam Hussein, and the Cuban people will be better off without the dictator Fidel Castro.
Livingston, New Jersey
Editor's note: You miss our point. No one here excuses human rights abuses and the lack of freedom anywhere in the world. The debate is over how best to achieve the admirable goals of democracy and freedom for all peoples. For 40 years, our policy toward Cuba and Castro has been to isolate and boycott. Isn't it worth trying something else? The power of free trade and the power of Americans visiting in large numbers could only alter Cuba's internal politics.
Well, finally Cigar Aficionado has succumbed to "Sports Illustratedism" with its latest issue featuring the supermodels of Cuba. Fine wine, spirits and cigars always struck me as conducive to the good life, a life above beer cans and cigarettes, which I somehow find more appropriate for the "swimsuit issue" crowd. Your magazine arrived during the day when my wife and young sons were at home, and, as usual, my boys picked up the mail. Needless to say, they were shocked by the cover of a magazine addressed to their father. My wife and I have strong feelings about the exploitation of women and are trying to raise our family to value women as persons, not sexual objects. The feature article of your latest issue flies in the face of those values and therefore I am cancelling my subscription to your magazine.
Editor's note: Sports Illustrated prints letters every year after its swimsuit issue. Many contain cancellation of subscriptions from irate readers. Many have kudos from appreciative subscribers. We printed yours because your comparison of us to Sports Illustrated is high praise indeed.