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Stogie News: Castro’s Imminent Death and Cuban Reform

1 Aug 2006

In a bombshell development that yielded both subdued prayers and massive celebrations, Fidel Castro handed the reins of the Cuban government to his brother, Raúl, to cope with “an intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding” that required “complicated surgery,” according to a letter read Monday night on Cuban television.

As a cigar connoisseur who has no sympathy for the ruthless dictator who has held Cubans’ freedom hostage since he took control of the island in 1959, the first question I asked myself was, “Is this the beginning of the end of the trade embargo?” Sure, the world’s longest-reigning dictator might be on his deathbed, but – more importantly – when can I legally purchase Cuban cigars?

It’s true that we can’t expect major reform from Raúl – who has been at his brother’s side from the beginning – anytime soon, but many foreign policy experts believe he is more pragmatic than Fidel, and therefore more open to economic reforms.

Coincidentally, just three weeks ago, the Bush administration commissioned a report detailing what the U.S. government would do to foster democracy on the island in the event of Castro’s death. The multi-agency paper cited humanitarian aid and help organizing free and fair elections as cornerstones of post-Fidel American-Cuban relations.

Any political novice could tell you not to hold your breath waiting for the trade embargo – which was signed by JFK in 1962 – to end, but if Raúl is open to economic and political reforms, the legality of Cuban stogies in the U.S. is a possibility in the next decade or so.

For now, just keep smoking them illegally.

-Patrick A


6 Responses to “Stogie News: Castro’s Imminent Death and Cuban Reform”

  1. Anonymous Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 6:56 am #

    It's only a matter of time. See you in hell, comrade.

  2. Sporran Wednesday, August 2, 2006 at 9:51 am #

    On the note of smoking a legal cuban…yes…I said legal. Has anyone tried a pinar m or p3000? I understand there are/were upwards of 6 or 7 different cuban wrapper/filler cigars that pinar came out with.

    The history of how they came about is quite interesting. A google search on pinar m3000 will lead you to good articles on the appearance of this 40+ year pre-embargo tobacco.

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