Book banners get ready!
Cigar Afficionado magazine is rolling out a June issue packed with Cuba news that is sure to raise hackles in our banana republic.
Last time the magazine did a similar series – in June 1999 -- county bureaucrats pulled it from news racks at Miami International Airport. That issue featured photos of Fidel Castro and then-President Bill Clinton on the cover along with the headline, ``Cuba: Is it time to end the embargo?''
While the latest issue’s cover image – palm trees – is more benign, the inside pages explore travel to Cuba (including ways to “sidestep” restrictions) and parse the value of the U.S. trade embargo, as the 1999 issue did. But El Exilio will likely get the most heartburn over an interview with Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly, in which he discusses “Fidel, Raúl and the challenges that face his country.”
Then again, Miamians might not ever see that article. First Amendment champions need only look at recent events such as the unsuccessful campaign to ban a children’s book from Miami-Dade school libraries and the school board’s ongoing quixotic battle to reinstate the ban.
Gordon Mott, Cigar Aficionado’s executive editor, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday afternoon. Saying he was unaware of the issue, MIA spokesman Greg Chin said he would respond by Monday.
In the meantime, get your book banning face on. --Rob Jordan
UPDATE: MIA spokesman Greg Chin says the airport has "no plans to remove this publication from our news racks at this time."