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Stogie News: Schwarzenegger Defies Cuban Embargo

4 Jun 2007

The man we’ve called “America’s cigar smoker in chief” is in hot water again – this time not for his alleged history of womanizing, but for a cigar.

While on a trade visit to Canada, the Governator’s motorcade stopped at a hotel to pick up a Cuban Partagas, the Associated Press reported this weekend. Schwarzenegger allegedly smoked the $14.83 stogie while traveling to Ottawa International Airport.

So what’s the big deal? Aren’t Cubans legal in Canada? They are, but under the U.S. embargo Americans are prohibited from buying Cuban cigars anywhere in the world.

“Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are prohibited from purchasing or importing Cuban cigars, regardless of where they are,” U.S. Treasury Department spokeswoman Molly Millerwise said in a statement. Americans convicted of violating trade regulations can be sentenced to fines or prison, but it wasn’t clear Friday if a U.S. citizen had ever been prosecuted for lighting a Cuban cigar in another country.

If this comes as a surprise to you, you’re not alone. I was under the impression that U.S. law did not transcend other countries’ borders – especially when it comes to something as trivial as a hypocritical trade embargo.

Schwarzenegger’s people haven’t confirmed or denied the cigar in question was Cuban, and his spokesman said, “There’s no way of telling now because he smoked it.”

Frankly, I hope Arnold gets away with it (and that’s certainly not because I sympathize with communism). I smoke Cubans whenever I get the chance, in America or elsewhere.

I mean, if it’s legal to fill up my car with gas from countries that support terrorism, why can’t I buy cigars from Cuba?

Patrick A

Tags: cigars

12 Responses to “Stogie News: Schwarzenegger Defies Cuban Embargo”

  1. Sam Monday, June 4, 2007 at 3:25 am #

    I am sick of this overreaching. How can someone say our laws here supercede those of another sovereign nation while you are there.

    How can it be that you can move your already taxed money to an offshore bank, earn interest income there and never repatriate it, yet it is still taxable here in the US if you live here????? Absolutely bananas.

  2. Padronnie Monday, June 4, 2007 at 4:11 am #

    They will probably accuse Anrold of destroying evidence… since he burnt the only proof they had.

  3. Alex Monday, June 4, 2007 at 4:24 am #

    That last sentence in the post is a really good point. I've never liked the Cuban embargo, but it always seemed reasonable to me to not support Castro's government. I mean, when you get right down to it, the entire island is owned by his regime.

    But when you look at the other countries we trade with, many of them are a lot worse. The policy doesn't make sense.

  4. furious Monday, June 4, 2007 at 5:16 am #

    The Cuban embargo is a cold war anachronism and should go the way of the Iron Curtain.

  5. John Monday, June 4, 2007 at 6:45 am #

    No way that's ever been prosecuted, and no way it will be now. How many rich corporate and business executives with deep pockets and political affiliations, who essentially own our governmental representatives, do you think enjoy Cuban cigars on their junkets around the world, and likely right here in the U.S. for that matter? No way the administration opens that can of worms with its biggest supporters. You think Bill Clinton never smoked a Cuban?

  6. Brian Monday, June 4, 2007 at 2:50 pm #

    @John- You can bet Bill didn't inhale!

    For some reason this post reminds me of the story of JFK sending an agent/secret service guy to pick up some boxes of Cubans before the embargo went into affect…

    I've been know to smoke a Cuban, oh say, every chance I get, but I also support the embargo. No matter how many fat documentary makers go there and say otherwise, the Castro regime is a crime against humanity. I don't think any reasonable person expects the embargo to eliminate all trade with Cuba, just greatly retard it. And in that respect it works. And if you can pick up a few sticks here and there, enjoy. (Face it, Cuban cigars wouldn't be nearly as fun if they weren't banned!)

  7. Archie Monday, June 4, 2007 at 6:20 pm #

    While I can see where you're coming from, Brian, and I agree with 90 percent of what you have to say, your endorsement of the embargo still doesn't address Patrick A's point that the U.S. has no problem trading with other deplorable nations.

    Are we to completely shut down trade with any country that doesn't embrace democracy and/or human rights?

  8. The President Monday, June 4, 2007 at 6:25 pm #

    The Government will do what it needs to do to reach and maintain global dominance. Though in today's world it seems increasingly obvious we are losing this battle. It may seem we have been a superpower for long enough, but then look at how long the Persian Empire remained on top. Anyway, the Gov't also seemingly has somewhat of a heart considering the amount of produce/food being traded/given to Cuba. Cigars are a luxury. In the USA, the main reason Cuban cigars hold such a high status is as the Brian (above) stated: Cuban cigars would not be what they are today unless there was an embargo (in so many words). One can argue the true quality of Cuban cigars lives up to its status, though in the end, if buying a Cuban cigar was as easy as going up to you local tobaccionist, then the aura and luxury to actually sit down and enjoy them would be lost.

  9. The President Monday, June 4, 2007 at 6:32 pm #

    Archie, there is a difference between luxury and necessity. Importing and exporting for the benefit of our country must reign supreme. Though the demand for oil is making those "other" nations filthy rich, it is still a necessity for our country today.

  10. Richard Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 4:24 am #

    The President:

    I think you're getting a bit off topic here. Besides, I don't think many readers will buy into your flawed reasoning that the government should decide what is and what is not important to export or import.

    Anyone with a basic understanding of economics will tell you that an unrestricted, free market will make those decisions many times better than Washington bureaucrats.

    Cuban cigars may be a luxury, but there is a substantial demand for them — whether the government likes it or not.

  11. John Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 6:48 am #

    I too would like to see Cuban cigars available everywhere. But I also think it is good to keep in mind why this embargo when into effect anyway. Castro allowed nuke missiles to be installed 90 miles off our coast. In today's current world of tin dictators having nuke missiles that only go 90 miles it's good to have a long memory. I know today's politics have made the embargo something else. But until Castro is gone we do not deal with him or his island. When another government is in place, however they govern, then we open up trade. Just MHO.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Stogie Guys Friday Sampler LXVIII - Friday, November 2, 2007

    […] 4) While presidential frontrunners Hillary and Rudy both support the failed Cuban embargo, constitutionalist candidate Ron Paul is coming down hard on the 45-year-old policy. In a recent column, Dr. Paul wrote that “it is Americans who live in a free country, and as free people we should choose who to buy from or where to travel, not our government.” […]