Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Fred Thompson, March/April 2009
Your series of articles on the "Cuba question" could not have been timelier, better considered or more thoughtfully written. In my opinion, you have truly lifted Cigar Aficionado to the ranks of serious political discourse (of course I and many others have long considered your thoughts on smoke and other good things most serious indeed).
Instead of complaining about the lack of a market for Cuban cigars, you took the high road of focusing on what matters most to generations of Americans and Cubans—family and freedom. You took the time to provide the backstory and history for your position and then intelligently argued it. The authors were not Pollyanna, but rooted in the difficult political realities. Your article on the human element of the current failed policy—agriculture and the Robainas—provided important perspective.
John D. Porter III Charlotte, North Carolina
I had decided not to renew my subscription to Cigar Aficionado before my last issue simply because it was all about Cuba. The February issue was the last straw. Check it out: 1) Editors' note 2) "Memo to President Obama" 3) "Talking with Castro" 4) "Cigars and Cuba: 50 Years of History" 5) "Inside Havana" 6) "After the Storms" If I want a Cuba magazine, I will purchase one. I suggest you print Cigar Aficionado in Spanish and sell it in Cuba.
Alfred Bensmiller Naples, Florida
I agree there needs to be a change of policy, but this needs to come from Havana, not Washington. History has demonstrated that trade embargoes do work if employed vigorously; case in point: South Africa. You are correct that "the good people of Cuba" have been punished long enough, but ending the U.S. trade embargo will not automatically solve 50 years of suffering. The U.S. is the only country that imposes a trade embargo. Why haven't circumstances changed? You also mention our relations with China, Vietnam, and even talks with North Korea as some sort of justification for approaching this regime. Does this mean three wrongs make a right? Let us not confuse the issue; Cuba's plight is not due to our so-called "failed policy," it is due to 50 years of a brutal communist dictatorship. I sincerely believe, in the not-too-distant future, Cuba will become a free, democratic and prosperous nation. This will be accomplished by its own courageous initiatives, led by a new generation, and not through negotiations with fading hard-liners.
Norbert Cardenas Miami, Florida