Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Richard Branson, Sept/Oct 2007
(continued from page 1)
As the proud son of Cuban immigrants, I take exception to Mr. [Charles] Rangel trivializing the suffering of the Cuban people (inside and outside of Cuba) simply because of a comment by a young Cuban who did not know how many acres of land his family lost in Cuba. [" A Democratic View," June 2007]. I do not run across many African-Americans who know where their ancestors lived in Africa or who can tell me who enslaved them here in the United States. Slavery happened, prejudice still exists today, and I am fairly certain that Mr. Rangel fights for what he thinks is right on this topic, regardless of how inconvenient it may seem to others.
In Cuba, people still can't vote, they can't leave the island, and are jailed if they speak out against the government. Yet people like Mr. Rangel who probably deep down admire Castro want to ignore what is going on there. The liberals want to ignore the suffering of the Cuban people and reward Castro because they secretly (some not so secretly) admire him. The conservatives will likely want to normalize relations with Castro because of political pressure from business leaders.
Cuban-Americans in exile: Keep up the pressure. Nobody else cares about what is right for Cubans. Your vote counts, but it will only count if we stick together!
Editor's note: We are not minimizing the hardships of the Cuban people. But after 45 years, you should ask yourself, is the policy working? Does it create more suffering? What is your goal? Democracy's strength is its openness. Open the doors and shine its light on Cuba, and it is almost a certainty change will occur there quickly.
As I write you, I am on a 10-day trip to Hawaii. Good for me, right? But alas, I am an avid cigar smoker, which seems to be taboo here. I can compromise by not smoking on the beach, in my room, in a bar, but when I cannot even light up on the spacious balcony of my $400-per-night room, something must be done.
As I had my morning coffee, I read an article about how Hawaii was losing in the battle for vacationing consumers' dollars. I cannot help but think it could have something to do with its stringent laws on smoking. I work hard and I play hard, and at the end of the day, I enjoy a good cigar with my whiskey or brandy. The place is beautiful, but I will be taking my hard-earned dollars elsewhere next vacation.
Somehow the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness has taken a cruel turn. What's next, prohibition?
Shark River Hills, New Jersey
I would like to start off by saying thank-you for a well-done and executed magazine. My wife and I both look forward to the articles and ratings.