Letters: Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, July/Aug 03
(continued from page 3)
My head by this time was spinning from having just met Mr. Plasencia, being in his office, and smoking one of his cigars. As I puffed contentedly away, it suddenly came to me that heaven must be like this.
Mr. Plasencia brought a man into his office and introduced him to me as Petrus Hartkamp, plant manager. He then apologized, telling me that he had a busy day ahead, he couldn't spend any more time with me, but Petrus would show me the facility. Yes, it's true -- the president of the company apologizing to some wayward tourist who had the impudence to invade his turf without even so much as an appointment.
As we shook hands, I asked him if I could get a photo of us together, and asked Petrus if he would take it, fumbling for my camera. You may be thinking, "Has this dolt no shame?" I can only reply in my defense that when it comes to cigars, I'm just as big a fanatic as the ones you see on Sunday afternoons screaming for their favorite football team to win. They would fall all over themselves to get a picture with their favorite player. I am no different, except my heroes make cigars. With smiles all around, cigars in hand, pictures were taken and then the tour began.
I spent the next two days with members of the Plasencia team, in Danlí and then in El Paraiso. My already high opinion of cigarmakers has been kicked up several notches due to my experiences at Plasencia. For me it was a superb moment, one of those unplanned events that will stay with me forever.
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.