You are authorized, once again, to buy, and bring back to America, up to $ 100 worth of the best cigar in the world : Cuba’s H. Uppmann
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Two nights ago President Obama announced that after 56 years, our nation and Cuba would restore full diplomatic relations. To effect this chanhe, he is sending Secretary of state John Kerry to Havana almost immediately, to negotiate the opening of an American embassy.
Many observers hail this decision as a big deal. To us, it’s simply common sense. It should have been done long ago, but everyone’s been afraid of angering the Cuban-American vote, virulently anti-Castro regime (for very good, personal reasons), and concentrated in Florida, a state with 29 electoral votes and almost always winnable for either party. as we see it, Obama decided to change the policy or three reasons : first, Pope Francis asked both parties to do so — and Pope Francis is a man whom all people of good will respect. Second, the confrontation policy hasn’t worked at all other than as a display of pique. Lastly, I think Obama decided that with Jeb Bush likely to run for President, Florida’s 29 electoral votes will be his whatever : thus the opening of relations with Cuba will not, of itself, hurt the 2016 Democratic candidate.
Whatever the calculation, the new policy helps the world move forward. Even as so many parts of the world are going to the mattresses, vicious with brutal tribal wars, we two nations are moving toward peace, communication, and great cigars.
There is plenty to not like about the Castro Brothers rule over Cuba even now. Human rights mean little to them; the economy struggles; few Cubans have internet, or businesses, or cars newer than the Meyer Lansky era; or any but local freedoms. The new agreement between America and Cuba will change this situation but slightly, yet not insignificantly. Cubans will now have internet access; US travelers are freer now to visit Cuba; they’ll also be able to use their credit cards to buy; and Cuban nationals with bank accounts outside the island will have thiose accounts unbloocked.
Lastly, two American prisoners, jailed in Cuba for whatever, have now been released,and three Cubans held in American prison have been freed as well.
We celebrate this common sense and wise initiative by President Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro. History will surely reward them. As for me, I’m going to light up an H. Uppmann.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere