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LotFma
October 14, 2004 6:20 AM   Subscribe

Giant's bizarre obsession with dwarf continues: confess to the NYPD that you smoked a spliff in Amsterdam, you're in the clear; but tell 'em you smoked a Havana, and you could get locked up for 10 years & fined $250,000. Land of the free, my ass....via Ben Hammersley. US Treasury .pdf here: including hotline for narcing on Arnie, Harvey, et al...
posted by dash_slot- (16 comments total)

 
Sooo.... at some point.... in the far, far distant future.... do y'all suppose it will be politically safe in America to suggest that maybe, ... just maybe... open trade would be a more effective weapon against Castro than the embargo?

I mean, good grief: How you gonna keep 'em commie once they get bluejeans?
posted by lodurr at 7:17 AM on October 14, 2004


"Pierre, I need some help," he said solemnly.

"I'll be glad to do anything I can Mr. President," I replied.

"I need a lot of cigars."

"How many, Mr. President?"

"About 1,000 Petit Upmanns."

I shuddered a bit, although I kept my reaction to myself. "And, when do you need them, Mr. President?"

"Tomorrow morning."
posted by matteo at 7:18 AM on October 14, 2004


Fantastic link there matteo.
posted by doozer_ex_machina at 8:15 AM on October 14, 2004


Yes, good story. Somehow I expected it to be about Bill Clinton.

Oh, and this law is next to unenforceable; it's just a sop to the Cuban community.
posted by briank at 8:17 AM on October 14, 2004


Apparently about 70,000 US citizens go to Cuba each year despite the embargo. Amusingly, it isn't illegal to go to Cuba, just to spend money there (you can't legally prevent people from visiting another country). Also, you can't bring any Cuban goods (not just cigars) into the US, even if you bought them in London or Toronto. The whole situation strikes me as silly in 2004.

The following is in regards to returning to the US after visiting Cuba, but is probably relevent to the Cigar stuff too.

"If you are asked more than these normal questions, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild advises you to state: "I have been advised by my counsel to not answer any further questions and to refrain from any additional comment. Any further inquiries should be directed to my counsel":"

A "WALL OF LAWYERS" has been established to help those being hassled or having received threatening letters or fines.

National Lawyers Guild (Art Heitzer)

414-273-1040 Ex 12, FAX 414-273-4859, aheitzer@igc.org
posted by shoepal at 8:20 AM on October 14, 2004


One has to be pretty stupid to confess anything to the NYPD in the first place.
posted by clevershark at 10:02 AM on October 14, 2004


I keep wondering what the deal is: Are the last several Presidents (and iterations of Congress) so afraid of the Cuban emigre voting bloc that they're waiting for Castro to die off before revising the US' stance toward Cuba? I mean, the US normalized relations with Vietnam after being in a shooting war against them.
posted by alumshubby at 10:34 AM on October 14, 2004


Fidel Castro has ruled Cuba since 1959, outlasting nine US presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. (And maybe we can add Bush 2.0 in a couple of weeks.)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:36 AM on October 14, 2004


Are the last several Presidents (and iterations of Congress) so afraid of the Cuban emigre voting bloc that they're waiting for Castro to die off before revising the US' stance toward Cuba?

I especially don't understand why the Democrats don't push for lifting the embargo: they're not getting the Cuban exile vote anyway. Are they afraid of being labeled soft on communism?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:06 AM on October 14, 2004


Things were apparently (theoretically?) lax when C-dogg was in the white hizous [perhaps due to his cigar fetish], but because George's bro Jeb is in control of FLA, things have gotten really tight again.

Oddly/Amusingly, a lot of sentiment on message boards and the like from foreign tourists seem pro-US embargo as it keeps US citizens out of Cuba and therefore keeps the country "untainted."
posted by shoepal at 11:35 AM on October 14, 2004


Nothing will happen with the embargo until either Florida turns solidly red or blue, or Castro dies. Granted, the Dems are losing most of the Cubans now, but given the closeness of Florida in 2000 (and probably 2004), they know that the minority of that vote that they do get could cost them the state if they come out against the embargo.
posted by aaronetc at 11:40 AM on October 14, 2004


One has to be pretty stupid to confess anything to the NYPD in the first place.
posted by clevershark at 6:02 PM GMT on October 14
Well, that was rhetoric, I guess, to demonstrate the point.

The Feds can arrest you in NYC for smoking a Havana, or drinking Cuban rum, in Europe. I'm not expecting any rash of confessions any time soon. Besides, am I supposed to believe that none of the Cuban exiles smoke Havanas? Hmmm....

How far will this extraterritoriality go? Why stop at laws relating to Cuba? That's one mixed up country, north of Mexico and south of sanity.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:03 PM on October 14, 2004


This posting of the word "C###" is not approved. You are in violation of the United States. A fine of 1,000,000 per incident has been assigned to your account. Failure to pay said fine will result in force labor.

Now someone please help me find a flu vaccine.
posted by omidius at 1:27 PM on October 14, 2004


AFP: Republican Hold on Cuban-Americans Seen Weakening

So does anyone know: How can the US government have any jurisdiction over something a US citizen does outside the United States?
posted by Vidiot at 1:42 PM on October 14, 2004


I don't know how the extra territorial prosecution works but Canada has a similiar thing. You can be charged with child prostitution if you travel outside Canada and then have sex with someone under 18 even if the laws of consent in that country would allow it.
posted by Mitheral at 8:04 PM on October 14, 2004


confess to the NYPD that you smoked a spliff in Amsterdam, you're in the clear; but tell 'em you smoked a Havana, and you could get locked up for 10 years & fined $250,000.
Could a member point me to the news link on this.
It is the Treasury Dept that would arrest you at Customs for this. I a few years back when I was researching travel to Cuba, I read news reports containing the stories about several US people being arrested. First, the people were writing off their Cuba travel as business expenses on their tax returns yet their travel was for leisure & fun. So after doing it many times over during specific dates a Treasury person was sent down to Miami who waited for them coming back through Customs. That was where they were busted and their arrest was for spending US dollars in Cuba. When Europeans travel to Cuba with a lay over in an Eastern state, they exchange their foreign currency for American $ since it is what the Cubans prefer for money. Plus the US dollar goes further. Have never read news where a Customs agent arrested one for Cuban cigars. Just the Treasury dept for spending American $ in Cuba. How would they know you spent American $? Being American, you would have to in order to survive.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:23 PM on October 15, 2004


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