Rand Paul and Marco Rubio did a little jousting today over opening up trade with Cuba. Paul is for it, Rubio is against it. My opinion is with Paul and I believe Paul did a much better job of defending his position that Rubio.
“He has no idea what he is talking about…” he said. “What’s hurting the Cuban people is not the embargo, what’s hurting the Cuban people is the Cuban government.”
via Marco Rubio, Rand Paul trade barbs on U.S.-Cuba deal | Fox News Latino.
I agree that the Cuban government is hurting the Cuban people but I also know that until we resume normal trade with Cuba there can’t be free trade in Cuba. Yes, Cuban citizens will only be allowed to use the U.S. Dollar on the black market in Cuba but look at the black market that can be built.
I like cigars. I smoke one or two a month and because I don’t smoke them any more than that I can afford to pay for a premium cigar. So what do I think about the effect of normalization of trade with Cuba and the cigar industry?
My favorite cigar is the La Gloria Cubana Series “R” No. 5 in a Maduro wrapper. I buy them anywhere from $7.50 to $12.00 apiece. This cigar comes out of the Dominican Republic and is, in my opinion, as fine as any cigar coming out of Cuba. When trade is normalized I see people initially jumping onto Cuban cigars but then after the novelty is off reverting back to what they like.
“U.S. residents like Cuban cigars not only because of their quality, but also because they were prohibited,” said Pedro Cabrera, co-owner of Bavaro, the Dominican Republic-based retailer and manufacturer of Cigarros Pedro Lopez. Cabrera called Wednesday’s developments “huge news.”
via End of Cuba embargo: Big news for cigar industry.
What is exciting me more about cigars and the normalization of trade with Cuba is adding some Cuban tobacco to other blends to create new cigars with a greater diversity of flavor. The coming year will be interesting.
We are getting back Alan Gross and opening up an embassy in Havana. This is great news and a great legacy for President Obama. I’ve always thought our efforts to rid Cuba of an oppressive government was totally wrong. I think this normalization is a right step toward Cubans becoming empowered enough to demand their own freedom.
However, it isn’t going as fast as I think it should and the following quote from the NYTimes story perfectly illustrates a problem I have with my government.
The United States will also ease travel restrictions across all 12 categories currently envisioned under limited circumstances in American law, including family visits, official visits and journalistic, professional, educational and religious activities, public performances, officials said. Ordinary tourism, however, will remain prohibited.
via U.S. and Cuba, in Breakthrough, Will Resume Diplomatic Relations – NYTimes.com.
Who the hell is my government to tell me what countries I can and can’t visit. I’m an American, dammit, I ought to be able to go where I please.
Dan seems to think the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba has something to do with Guantanamo Bay. Maybe, but I think it might have more to do with José Mujica making normalization talks a condition of taking a dozen Guantanamo Bay prisoners off of the hands of the U.S. than Cuba having anything on us regarding Guantanamo.