Cigar Aficionado Documents the Secret History of US-Cuba Talks

Cigar Aficianado normally devotes its editorial content to, as the name suggests, cigars and the celebrities that love them. Yes, they've always been against the Cuban Embargo, but their February issue goes all Atlantic-esque high brow, ditches the smokey celeb portrait, and puts their political leanings front and center with four full length articles on Cuba. Riptide doesn't have the issue yet, but the first article is a letter to Obama, pleading for the normalization of relations between Cuba and America. Another looks at, more appropriately, the cigar industry under communism, and the last looks at Cuban tourism, the charms of Havana, and how it could adopt to an influx of American tourists.

The second article in the series though, seems to be the most interesting, and most explosive. Adopted by an upcoming book Talking with Fidel: The Untold History of Dialogue between the United States and Cuba by Peter Kornbluh and William LeoGrande, details the secret dialogues between Presidents from Kennedy up until Clinton and the communist island. George Washington University has the recently declassified documents used in the article's research, and has posted them for the first time on the web today.

The documents posted are from the Kennedy, Ford and Carter

administrations. A secret meeting between aids of Secretary of State

Kissinger and Cuban represented took place in '75, and the Cubans were

giving a documents indicating that the "U.S. is able and willing to

make progress on such issues even with

socialist nations with whom we are in fundamental ideological


There's also documents detailing Carter's efforts to normalize relations. Shortly after taking office he issue a directive that stated Carter wanted to "set in motion a process which will lead to the

reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and


As we know, these historic talks never amounted to much, but Cigar Aficionado clearly hopes President Obama will finally put the Cuba problem behind us one way or another, and the authors say their work contains "important lessons [for President Obama] on how an effective

effort at direct diplomacy might end, once and for all, the perpetual

hostility in U.S.-Cuban relations."

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