Thursday, April 28, 2005

Blowing Smoke Out Both Sides of His Mouth

In today's edition of "Pile on Tom DeLay," TIME magazine takes on the House Majority Leader for apparent hyprocrisy over Cuba.

First this quote from Rep DeLay (R-TX) during debate over relaxing trade restrictions on Cuba last year:

"Every dime that finds its way into Cuba first finds its way into Fidel Castro's blood-thirsty hands.... American consumers will get their fine cigars and their cheap sugar, but at the cost of our national honor."

Then the photo.

It shows Rep DeLay in Jerusalem in 2003, puffing on a stogie. Zoom in on the cigar band and you see it's a $25 Hoyo de Monterrey double corona -- unavailable in the USA because it's made in "Habana."

While Rep DeLay may have violated his own standards of putting money in "Fidel Castro's blood-thirsty hands," smoking a Cuban outside the US was not a crime at the time.

It would be now. The Treasury Department has declared it illegal not only to buy Cuban cigars while in other countries -- but from even consuming Cuban cigars in other countries.

Penalties are pretty stiff: up to $250,000 in fines and 10 years in prison for a criminal conviction, or $65,000 in civil penalties.

If the Majority Leader's smoked any Cubans since the new rules took effect -- he'd better hope all the evidence went up in smoke. (TIME)

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