President Obama is the man. Yes, I am rather hard on him sometimes. Okay, all the time. And, yes, that included this very morning. But that’s just kidding around about fun and games: war, terrorism, the economy, etc.
Today things are different. Whatever else he may have done, today Obama struck a blow for freedom.
This morning, around 11:30, Obama issued an Executive Directive which chips away hard at one of the last vestiges of the idiotic Cuban Embargo. Since 1962, Cuban cigars (and rum) have been off-limits (officially) to Americans. As the Cuban people were mightily harmed by the economic limitations of the embargo, so American cigar enthusiasts have been hampered by the import ban.
Today, Obama undid that. Thank. You. Brother.
Last year America lifted most tourism limits on island visits. As of today, those tourists can bring back up to 100 fine cigars and multiple bottles of rum. For those out of the loop, that means 4 – 5 boxes of cigars. And Cuban rum is something else; I’ve actually had bad Cuban smokes, but never bad rum.
Several hundred thousand Americans have already visited Cuban, including a few of my friends. A very good friend is down there right now. Hey, Jake! Bring me back a few Bolivar Belicoso Finos! There’s a good chap.
And Jake knows what he’s doing; he’s a professional. The rest of you venturing to Cuba, please be careful. There are Cubans and then there are Cubans. The production is pretty much maxed out at present and we have a bit of a supply problem to deal with. That’s why the retail sale of Cubans in America may not commence so quickly as one might think. They don’t have that many to send us.
Cubans and *Cubans*. The very best sticks leave home for Europe, Asia and the Middle East – places that have not foolishly hobbled their smoking gentry for the past 54 years. I suppose the very best stuff stays on the island, in the hands of the Castro Brothers and their friends. The rest is … sub-par on average. Of course, Cuban sub-par still may be “good.” But, then again, we already have plenty of good (even great and awesome) cigars from places like Nica and the DR.
It will take a while for us to get a decent cut of the really good merchandise. In the meantime, if you go to Cuba, beware of what you find. There is an existing “Cuban” market just for Americans in the Caribbean. They know they can sell us anything, and they do. Low-grade leftovers and floor sweepings. And fakes. Buyers beware. Consult a good tobacconist when you’re planning your trip. This situation will improve in time.
And what improvement we had today! Thank you, President Obama, for doing the right and decent thing. I promise to lay off my usual political comments (as to Obama…) for the rest of the weekend.
Smoke it up!