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100,000 Cuban Cigars Will Go Up In Smoke, and Not In the Good Way

It appears that we’re in the midst of some kind of giant cigar crackdown—over the last two weeks, U.S. Customs officials at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago have seized over 30,000 Cuban cigars and are holding an additional 70,000 that are suspected to be from Cuba. Most of the packages were shipped from Switzerland.

There are a lot of factors contributing to the influx of confiscated Cuban cigars, the most important of which being the recent suspected Yemen-to-Chicago bomb scare. As a result of the scare, it is now illegal to ship parcels that are over 16 ounces on passenger aircraft, so all of the packages that previously went under the radar are now being shipped on closely scrutinized cargo jets.

All I can think of is how much of a waste of time the embargo against Cuba is. It seems like our homeland security resources could be put towards more important things, such as, I don’t know, stopping more terrorist threats? I’d hate to think that the explosives-sniffing dogs are going to be put to work sniffing out Cuban cigars. Not to mention, I’m sure I’m not the first one to speculate that some customs officials are going to get some pretty sweet Christmas gifts this year.

And as if the government seizure of this many cigars isn’t upsetting enough, regulations state that any Cuban goods seized at customs are to be forfeited and destroyed. I guess they were going to be burned anyway one way or another, and imagine the smell of 100,000 Cuban cigars burning in a blast furnace—I want an invite to that party. Nonetheless, “What a shame” is a vast understatement.

I’d like to think that once the embargo is lifted, we can all look back and laugh at this kind of nonsense. But I, for one, will be looking back and angrily asking, “Why the hell would you burn 100,000 cigars in a furnace?”