As a cigar lover, the US embargo on Cuba 1) may be something you don't care about, 2) might be annoying, or 3) might totally infuriate you, depending on how satisfied you are with your current cigar supply and how badly you want the real deal straight from the motherland.
Well, wherever you fall, there's some hope that a change will come: a bill was introduced in the Senate on February 7, 2019, called " A bill to lift the trade embargo on Cuba." It was submitted by Senator Amy Klobuchar [D-MN] and co-sponsored by Sen. Michael B. Enzi [R-WY], so it has at least minimal bi-partisan support. No details have yet been offered, but judging by the title, it's a broad effort to get the embargo terminated (and as we all know, the title of a bill is never misleading and always describes with total honesty what the bill is about, right?)
Of course, there is a way for you to get some genuine Cubans. You can just go to Cuba! Why don't you swing by on your way home from work? And while you're at it, loop past Mexico for some fresh avocados!
You see, once upon a time, you couldn't have any Cuban cigars. Getting your hands on a single smoke was an epic caper that either required legitimate smuggling or having a connection involved in illicit importing. However, in 2014, things changed, and the rules relaxed. You could bring some stuff home from the rare trip to Cuba, but no more than $100 worth. By 2016, there was no limit on the dollar value of what you came home with, but it had to be for personal use and go in your carry-on.
So anyone who had dreams of coming back with a crate or two was disappointed.
The real dream, of course, is that one day Cuban cigars will be imported and sold here in the States, so you don't actually have to go to Cuba to get a Cuban cigar any more than you have to go to Costa Rica for bananas or go to Switzerland for chocolate.
Why are we so hardcore about the embargo when so many condemn it? Well, the Cuban revolutionary leaders, when they took power in 1960, seized and nationalized one of the few things our government genuinely and provably cares about when it comes to international relations: they took over American oil refineries.
They took the oil. It's safe to say this bill will never get passed. The energy lobby has a long memory and a "fair amount" of power over our legislative agenda.
We'll be running on solar and wind, and eighth-generation heirs to energy fortunes will still be getting tattoos at birth that say: "No trade with Cuba. Not now, not ever. - Great Great Grandaddy Terwilliger Spunt the VI.
But still, we may dream of genuine Cubanos and that sweet, spicy smoke.
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