Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Susan Lucci, Sep/Oct 99
(continued from page 1)
Albert A. Fox Jr.
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I read with great interest your recent issue dedicated to the Cuban embargo and tourist guide to Cuba; I, however, felt it was missing some important attractions: Prisión de Boniato--whose star attraction is Alejandro Mustafá Reyes, who is serving a 20-year sentence for the "crime" of trying to escape the island you are promoting. His 21-year-old son was murdered as he was swimming in the bay towards his escape boat. Further, if you were to go to Prisión Combinado del Este, you would meet another attraction: Arturo Suarez Ramos. He is serving a 30-year prison term. His "crime" also was trying to escape the "paradise" you mentioned in your magazine.
Further up the east coast is another tourist attraction you many want to inform your readership of: Prisión de Máxima Severidad Kilo 8, Camaguey. Featured attraction is Julio Alvarez Lopez, who has been reported "beaten to death" on three different occasions. He will be an attraction for the next 20 years. A little further to the east is Prisión de Ariza. As you enjoy the latest issue of Cigar Aficionado and puff on your Cohiba, you can meet Pedro Genaro Barrera Rodriguez. This is a great attraction. Mr. Rodriguez is 79 years of age. He was accused of "intellectual sabotage against the revolution." What is that? He will be an attraction for another 18 years.
Still further east on this "tropical paradise" is Carcel de Boniato in Santiago de Cuba, the former home town of Bacardi Corp. Here you can see Jorge Pelegria Ruiz. He was accused of trying to leave this wonderful destination you are promoting. Your visitors can actually see what happens to a human being, with chronic hepatitis, who is denied medical attention. I could go on with literally thousands of examples to make my point. Have you ever thought of this great irony? Why do people risk their lives, and that of their loved ones, to escape this "paradise" you are promoting?
As a cigar lover, I have over the years read most of your issues, and genuinely enjoy your magazine; but I cannot understand, under any stretch of my imagination, your coziness with Fidel Castro. I read your editorial and your qualifiers in the magazine, but I submit to you, that you cannot separate the two issues. Last, I find most ironic the fact that over the years the number one issue cigar lovers complain about in your magazine is restrictions on where they can or cannot smoke cigars. They constantly ask, where are their rights? Please be aware that in the paradise you promote, people have been dying by the thousands since 1959, fighting for some real basic rights. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion.
Ramiro A. Ortiz
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