The Terminator and the Blockade of Cuba

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Sat Nov 1 17:26:56 MST 2003

by Walter Lippmann, November 1, 2003

Below you'll find a link to very long (5700+ words)
item which appeared in the July-August 2003 issue
"Cigar Aficianado", a printed journal of the industry
devoted to that famous product.

In a feature interview prior to his election victory in the
California recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger took what an
internationally-recognized superstar married to a highly
successful media professional had to have known was
a distinctive, perhaps deliberately provocative gesture.

We saw already in the very first sentence that the popular
candidate continued his very well-known enjoyment of
Cuban cigars. "Montecristo" is one of the best-known
of the island's brands. Schwarzenegger didn't think that
smoking a Cuban cigar in public would harm him at all
at the ballot box. And, as it turned out, it didn't.

California companies recently signed a contract for
the sale of $10 million dollars worth of agricultural
commodities. California wines are available in Cuba.
While they are  more expensive than their counterparts
made on the island, where budget-minded shoppers
might prefer Cuba's excellent San Cristobal wines,
I personally bought a bottle of California wine while
visiting the island, just to do my bit to encourage the
expansion of California-Cuba commercial ties.

One of the big themes Arnold struck during the recall
election was the need to unfetter California business
of regulations which restrict the state's businesses from
expanding sales and their bottom lines. But did he
really mean what he was saying? Time will tell.

An excellent start would be to build on the state's
expanding business ties by ending laws such as the
travel ban to Cuba. Arnold could then get his cigars
directly and legally. He's traveled to the island before
and, if my recollection is accurate, there's a photo of
him up on the wall at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

Opposing the travel ban could help him cement ties
with the Democrat-controlled California legislature,
whose Senate came out against the blockade of Cuba
over a year ago.

Arnold is extremely popular among the Cubanos, too.
He'd certainly be welcomed on the island if he chose to
go there. On the bus to Santiago in July I had to watch
KINDERGARTEN COP, one of Arnold's less-violent
features, which was played at ear-splitting volume on
the bus' closed-circuit television system.

Who knows, the governor-elect might debate with the
leader of the Cuban Revolution on such topics as the
virtues of smoking and of human cloning, both of
which are viewed dubiously by the island's authorities?

I don't suppose Fidel would argue the existence of a
Supreme Being with Arnold since Fidel's not into
debates on things which aren't empirically verifiable .

While their dialogues might not be as interesting as
those with Jimmy Carter, Ralph Nader or Chomsky,
dialogue has great potention, to bring people together
and to try to resolve festering disputes between them.

Schwarzenegger, like most politicians, avoided many
specific issues during the election campaign, but now
he's free to share whatever ideas he might have with
anyone who would listen, and people WOULD listen
precisely because of who he is.

On the eve of the election, an opinion article appeared
in the Wall Street Journal signed by Schwarzenegger
entitled "My Economics". There he explained that his
favorite economic thinkers were Adam Smith and
Milton Friedman. He stated, "when the heavy fist of
government becomes too overbearing and intrusive,
it stifles the unlimited wealth creation process of a
free people operating under a free enterprise system."

He accused Governor Davis of being responsible for
"a counterproductive culture in Sacramento where
businesses and entrepreneurs that dare make a profit
are treated as if they are enemies of the state."

If anything fits Schwarzenegger's criterion, it's clearly
the entire web of blockade legislation which does just
what Arnold describes. His campaign ads projected
a somewhat rebellious pose, as a leader who wouldn't
bow down to special interests or do business as usual.
We'll find out soon enough if he was serious about it
or was this just so much campaign rhetoric like most
US politicians normally engage in.

Consider this: the blockade on Cuba has been going
on for over forty years. It's business as usual, and it's
obviously kowtowing before a special interest group,
the wealthy right-wing minority of Cuban exiles. It's
time now to bring and end to this business-as-usual.

It's time for to unharness some of those companies
who want to trade freely with Cuba. Today the island
is one of the best customers US companies have.
Cuba pays cash and hasn't missed even one single
payment. How many businesses have customers as
reliable as Cuba has shown itself to me?

So, we wonder: can the Terminator help out?

Return of the Terminator

Arnold Schwarzenegger Talks about T3, Politics and His
Desire to Give Something Back to America
By Paul Chutkow

Arnold is in his office, sipping a double espresso and
leisurely smoking a big Montecristo. The man looks
terrific: tall, strong, fit, and radiating humor and high
spirits. Life would be perfect, he says, if only he had a
few more Arnolds on hand.

"That's why I love the idea of cloning," Arnold says,
speaking slowly and distinctly to get every word right. "I
could go and get two or three Arnolds and then do all the
things I need or want to do. I love the cloning idea
because the most frustrating thing for me is that we cannot
do everything. And the next frustrating thing is that we
have to sleep. If ever I will have a chance to talk with
God, I would have a little conversation about that. I'd
say, 'Why not alter things a little bit so that a few of us
don't have to sleep and we can just see things 24 hours a
day without getting tired?' Now that would be a miraculous
kind of situation. I've thought about it many times over
the years, because I find there is such a joy in doing many
things in life and accomplishing many things."

Fidel Castro's ideas on tobacco, smoking and cigars:

The leader of the Cuban Revolution, famous for decades
being seen in public with a big cigar, demonstratively
gave up the habit in 1986. Since that time, he's only seen
in public with boxes of the cigars which he gives away as
gifts. Some of Cuba's friends buy them for big bucks that
the Cuban government uses to fund its systems of health
and education which are universal and free.

Here's an excerpt from one of Fidel Castro's best speeches,
given before tens of thousands of people on May 26, 2003
during his triumphant visit to Buenos Aires:
As for us, we have historically been tobacco producers,
and this is something we cannot give up, much less while
we are subjected to the blockade, and yet when we give a
friend a box of cigars as a gift, we say, "If you smoke, you
can smoke them; if you have any friends who smoke, you
can share them; but the best thing you can do with this
box of cigars is to give them to your enemy." (Applause)

Reat the whole Cigar Aficianado article (5700+ words!):
(just click on the link and wait to be re-directed)


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