Boogie Online

Volume 1 #3 (May 20-26, 1998)

From the Editor: Give me Cubans or give me death

BY KEN GAILLOT

"Give me Cubans or give me death!" Patrick Henry said that. Or something like that anyway.

The only cigar better than a Cuban cigar, is a Cuban cigar whose price tag doesn't require a second mortgage on your house.

Sometimes I think Fidel Castro is paying his entire country's electric bill by smuggling cigars to the United States.

Buying any product from Cuba is a federal crime in the U.S. "Trading with the enemy" they call it. As if Cuba is getting ready to invade Key West next week. Cuba hasn't been a military threat since before the Ford Mustang came out.

It is patently goofy to have a trade embargo against Cuba, while giving most favored nation status to much larger and nuclear-armed Communist China.

Not that I'm a fan of Castro by any means. The only reason Cuba is communist is so that he and his brother can live like kings squeezing the last drops of life from the Cuban economy.

Ironically, European companies like to invest in Communist Cuba because people have to put up with miserable working conditions. What are they going to do, vote Castro out? Unionize? That only happens in free market democracies.

Things are changing however. Clinton will likely lift the U.S. trade embargo before the end of his term. He has already eased restrictions on humanitarian aid, and his supporters in the media are pushing lots of anti-embargo news stories.

Oh, wait, I wasn't supposed to say that! Mainstream media are perfectly unbiased, objective reporters of what goes on. Really. There's no agenda to push. Ignore the man behind the curtain.

Actually, I want a kickback or something for this article. I hope some Clinton official with a news clipping service finds this, says, "Hey, I forgot to pay off this guy," and sends me a check.

In this case, Clinton and the media happen to be right. It's an accident I'm sure, but they are right. The Cuban embargo is stupid.

Lift the embargo, and the forces of change will sweep out the Fidel and Raul show like a clump of dust bunnies. The increase in contact between the U.S. and Cuba, both economic and cultural, will create an irresistible momentum for change.

Cuba's educated work force and history of prosperity give reason to believe that Cuba will do better than many other Caribbean nations in adapting to the new economy.

Fidel can then retire to Spain, join a seniors league baseball team, and spend the remainder of his life touring the talk show circuit and doings ads for Cuban cigar companies. "I smoke Upmanns. They're mmmm, mmmm good."

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