Puff-Puff-Pass! Could Cuban Cigars Come To An Ashtray Near You?
Matt | On 12, Jul 2010
Attention all smokers and fathers-to-be! The House of Representatives is weighing a plan to dismantle some key pieces of the trade embargo between Cuba and the United States.
Could this mean that a strong Cuban cigar could be in your future, legally? I don’t smoke, but if you do, opportunity may await you. Of course, this will be after 5,001 hurdles and a floor vote on House and passage by the Senate, and Obama’s signature. But, who’s keeping track?
Here’s the deal. The U.S. is broke and it’s looking for ways to expand its trade opportunities. Cuba is a beautiful country, but because of Communist rule and a cold shoulder from the United States, they are stuck back in the 1950s in some areas of life. Cell phones are rare there. The cars they drive are damn near Model-T’s that they keep fixing up. Media is state-run and so are the industries. There are no U.S.-based travel industry businesses there, though I hear Cuba has some fantastic beaches. So, there are plenty of opportunities to make some money there if we can get the U.S. government to release its deathgrip on our ability to get there.
There have been some slight inroads into the market in recent years, though. In 2000, the U.S. approved farm sales to Cuba, but those took a beating in the economic downturn. Other than that, only farm-related, academic, or certain family visits are permitted to the island nation from the U.S.
The goal of this legislation is to allow U.S. tourists to freely visit Cuba, plain and simple. Right now, the House Agriculture Committee passed the bill 25-20. It still has to go to the House Financial Services and the Foreign Affairs Committee before getting a full vote on the floor. From there, it’s on to the Senate, then to POTUS .. then *bam* .. it becomes law. Easy, huh?
If the embargo is lifted, our citizens can fly there and support U.S. businesses on the island. Plus, all of the other tourists from all over the world who can already visit can support the new U.S. businesses. If you make it there, you may even be able to smoke one of those famed cigars.
There’s no official word yet from the Obama Administration about the track of this new legislation. They support a democratic Cuba, but haven’t quite found the HOW to support it with a still-oppressive government in place. Communism ain’t going nowhere anytime soon in Cuba! But, with a 51-year embargo in place, our government does need to seriously weigh how effective (and necessary) something that old is.