Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Bacon, May/Jun 00
(continued from page 3)
On another occasion my brother and I were in La Kasalta and Fidel was there with his entourage. My then 9-year-old brother walked up to him and asked for his autograph. Fidel joked with him and gave him an autograph. In June 1960 we had to leave Cuba. We had to pretend we were going on a two-week vacation. We were American citizens but Cuban residents. My mother, brother and I were only allowed to take our dog and $5.
My father stayed behind to close up the office and to dispose of the car and household goods. He had time to get a letter of good conduct--signed by Che Guevara--to leave for Caracas. He would have enjoyed your magazine articles about Cuba. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago and never got to see Cuba again. I wonder if the embargo will outlive me also.
Katherine Cornell Beaudoin
N. Charleston, South Carolina
Boy, was your June 1999 issue provocative. After partially reading it through, I was not a happy camper. I thought it was more appropriate for a travel magazine than CA, though I did enjoy the pictures of the cigar fields and the articles on cigar stores, Cuban brands, Cuban rum and the corona tasting.
Being a voracious reader of politics and editorials, I thought that I would save the best for last. Senators Helms's and Dodd's essays were interesting, Mr. Andreas was pretty transparent as to what he wanted (11 million Cuban customers) and Ricardo Alarcon (I won't dignify him by using the title Mr.) was obnoxious.
He should consider himself lucky that we allow him and his band of cutthroats to exist at all in our hemisphere (yes, I did say our hemisphere). The fact that this clown invokes the name of Jose Marti, the father of Cuban independence, just adds fuel to the fire. We will never know how Marti's Cuba would have turned out, since he died in 1895, but I'm betting he would not have been a totalitarian like Castro. What particularly galls me is where these despots get the brass to lecture us on politics and morality. As you can guess, I don't like dealing with terrorists, and my Cuban solution remains constant: if Alarcon wants anything from us, then let him yield, not us.
Finally, taking the two issues together (June and August 1999), I am greatly disappointed in the actions of the CA editors, our baseball players (Baltimore Oriole Scott Erickson in particular) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Orioles owner Peter Angelos. I did not see one word of strong direct criticism of Castro's regime from any of the editors. As for Erickson, if a prison had a baseball team, I guess he'd be one of the first to suit up and play, as long as the stadium was full. Mr. Angelos is salivating over Cuban players in the same way that Mr. Andreas is over Cuban customers.
Sorry for the political letter, but Cigar Aficionado let the genie out of the bottle. I never felt that shaking hands with a devil did anything to change him, but you're entitled to your opinion. Thanks for letting me make points that I'm sure many other Americans feel strongly about.
John J. Pluta
Wrightstown, New Jersey