Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Tom Berenger, July/Aug 2007
(continued from page 1)
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
I've subscribed to Cigar Aficionado for years now and for the most part found it to be harmless and mildly entertaining. However, your continuous fawning over Fidel has become tiresome and patently offensive. I fail to understand your apparent fascination with a brutal, two-bit dictator who has systematically tortured and murdered his own people for almost 50 years. Did you ever ask yourself why so many Cubans risk their lives just to leave the place? No, I didn't think so.
Fortunately, there will come a time (hopefully soon) when Fidel is no longer with us and the Cuban people will find a way to regain their freedom. Then, liberal sycophants like you and your self-absorbed, narcissistic Hollywood pals will have to find a new trendy cause to champion. In the meantime, there are plenty of good cigars to smoke which are not from Cuba, and other magazines to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed your June 2007 articles on the future of the trade embargo against Cuba and I would like to thank all the contributors for voicing their opinion on this matter. Rep. Diaz-Balart's contribution, though, was nothing more than rhetoric to rally his Hialeah voting base. His comparisons of Portugal's and Spain's democratic transitions to the possible political shift in Cuba are baseless and weak. These countries' success was due to the European Union's ability to bring the countries up to economic par. Cuba has no economic institutions which could do the same for them, as MERCOSUR (South America's economic institution) is not as strong as the EU. Furthermore the congressman says that we should punish the Cuban government for its human rights violations, yet the United States maintains open and friendly relations with countries who engage in larger-scale violations, such as China. This being the case, the moral high ground the representative would like to take is compromised. I hope the readers of this publication can see through the fallacies that the congressman spews as lacking evidence and credibility. We, as voters, citizens of the world and, most importantly, men who enjoy a good smoke, should not allow a congressman who manipulates his scorned Cuban-American voting bloc to direct policy that affects so many.
I was deeply touched by the June edition of Cigar Aficionado. It conjured up the aroma of Cuba's finest tobacco. The pictures and articles of Cuba took me on a melancholy trip to my homeland. I read the magazine from cover to cover and plan to read it again. As I devoured the stories, I pondered the Cuba of tomorrow. To dream of this is perhaps my claim to the things I left behind as a child. I did not experience much of life in Cuba after Fidel's takeover. My family fled like the many doctors, lawyers and educated professionals. We built roots all over the States and all over the world. Infused only by our parents' memories of a paradise gone, we learned our heritage. I still miss the beautiful beaches and fine hotels, and the men in my family miss their Cuban cigars. Tobacco is in our blood, but we are not permitted to purchase the Cuban cigar. It would be fantastic one day soon to show our children and grandchildren the mystic island, and the men can celebrate by smoking Cuban cigars legally.
Just thought I'd let you know that Big Brother and the cigar Nazis are alive and well.
On the weekends I drive a charter coach bus for extra cash. After a long day, I dropped off all my customers and headed back to the shop. I pulled out a cigar and enjoyed a moment of solitude with an unlit cigar.