Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cuba embargo needs termination

Pasadena Star

Launched: 06/09/2007 08:20:37 PM PDT

HE just couldn't stop himself.

El Gob, aka Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, likes his Cuban cigars. He likes them enough that he's willing to risk a $250,000 fine and 10-year prison term to smoke one.

Hey, look at it this way. Smoking Cuban cigars is an act of civil disobedience. So what if Cuban cigars are considered contraband? That U.S. trade embargo of Cuba is just dumb anyway and can't stop the governator.

Schwarzenegger has practiced that distinctive brand of civil disobedience for a long time now. He's been on the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine twice, a periodical well-known for its opposition to the U.S. embargo of Cuba.

After he became governor, Schwarzenegger tried to turn over a new leaf, giving Daniel Marshall cigars, made in California, to legislators who frequent his cigar tent at the Capitol. But during a recent trip to Canada, it seems that Schwarzenegger just couldn't resist a Cuban cigar on his way out of Ottawa, according to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

It was bad enough when Americans couldn't import Cuban cigars and other Cuban goods. But the Bush administration made the embargo worse with a regulation on Sept. 30, 2004, that said Americans cannot buy or smoke Cuban cigars even in countries where the cigars are legal. The same goes for Havana Club rum and other Cuban products.

What does the president - and Congress for that matter - have against a small island nation that's a threat to nobody? The 45-year-old embargo hasn't done anything to dislodge Fidel Castro.

Why not try something new like expanding U.S. influence and trade for the day that Fidel is gone? Schwarzenegger has highlighted the idiocy of the Cuba embargo. Surely he would agree with our advice: Terminate it.

The Sacramento Bee

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