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Friday, June 08, 2007

A Warning to Our American Guests

Canadian Cynic has just alerted me to a problem that could get my American friends in big trouble when they come for my daughter's wedding in a few weeks [ You keep using that word "democracy" ...]. The problem is explained by Ed Brayton over on Dispatches from the Culture Wars [No Cuban Cigars Abroad Too?].

You see, the American government is very, very afraid of Fidel Castro. They're certain that he is about to subvert Americans and turn them all into (gasp!) socialists. In order to prevent any contamination, all Americans are forbidden to visit Cuba or to buy any Cuban products. This does not only apply in the USA but in other countries as well.

Yep, that means Canada. Americans can't smoke Cuban cigars in Canada and they can't drink Cuban rum either. So be careful my friends. Your government may throw you in jail if you don't specify non-Cuban rum at the bar. (I'll never tell.) Many of the Canadian guests will have vacationed in Cuba last winter. You better not talk to them.

Here's the specific regulation copied from Ed's blog.
The question is often asked whether United States citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States may legally purchase Cuban origin goods, including tobacco and alcohol products, in a third country for personal use outside the United States. The answer is no. The Regulations prohibit persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from purchasing, transporting, importing, or otherwise dealing in or engaging in any transactions with respect to any merchandise outside the United States if such merchandise (1) is of Cuban origin; or (2) is or has been located in or transported from or through Cuba; or (3) is made or derived in whole or in part of any article which is the growth, produce or manufacture of Cuba. Thus, in the case of cigars, the prohibition extends to cigars manufactured in Cuba and sold in a third country and to cigars manufactured in a third country from tobacco grown in Cuba.


  1. I don't know how afraid the US is of Cuba as much as I know that our political leaders don't want to anger the powerful Cuban-American lobby.

  2. That's exactly it -- and that's something that most non-Americans don't get. We don't fear Castro at all (at least not since the collapse of European communism). But both major parties are trying to woo the Cuban-Americans by remaining tough on Castro. It's just like how neither party can say anything bad about Israel for fear of losing the Jewish vote.

  3. Actually, I think most people understand that it's ideology at work. And hence, the light satire. What's dumb is that no one is taking a stand on humanitarian principle, to challenge an economic embargo that only serves to deny essential goods to Cubans. It's even more preposterous in light of normalised relations with Vietnam and China.

  4. Oh, and I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger bought Cuban cigars while visiting Canada recently. I wonder if he'll get chewed out. My guess is not, what with the leniency with Ms Hilton.

  5. Jonathan Badger says,

    That's exactly it -- and that's something that most non-Americans don't get. We don't fear Castro at all

    Oh, come on, you don't expect us to believe that do you? Castro whupped your ass in the Bay of Pigs and you've been afraid of him ever since. That's why you had to give back the little boy you kidnapped a few years ago.

    Those Cuban soldiers are fierce, man. You don't want to tangle with them.

  6. Actually, the people who got whupped last time were mostly the same set of Cuban-Americans who still have a grudge against Castro (the US just armed them). I have no doubt that the Cuban army would make short work of them if they went down there again (which would indeed be one way of solving the problem...)

  7. "That's why you had to give back the little boy [Elian Gonzales] you kidnapped a few years ago."

    I believe former Genesis singer Phil Collins sings about that:

    "It's no fun bein' an illegal Elian."

    The ironic (and very sad) part is that had the US opened up to Cuba long ago, the Cubans themselves would have dumped Castro.

    It's a stupid policy set by stupid people.

    -- John B

  8. Hey Larry Moran! F*ck OFF!

  9. I think US is unable to produce such fine products as Cuba have. an example of that is cuban cigars.