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Posted March 04, 2005 by publisher in Cuban Cigars

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By Anthony Boadle | Reuters

Publisher note: The real title of this story is “Castro snubs cigar aficionados at Habanos Festiva” but this author mentions in passing that Uma Thurman was in town. Does he have proof? Is she violating travel restrictions?

Cuban President Fidel Castro snubbed hundreds of cigar aficionados by skipping a gala dinner closing the annual Habanos festival on Friday night, and British actor Jeremy Irons took his place as the star attraction.

“As I get older, and I see the years ahead of me getting shorter, I try to live a better quality of life. I think in the years to come I will smoke less cigarettes and more cigars,” Irons told the diners as waiters handed out trays of Partagas Coronas.

It was the third year in a row that Castro, 78 and recovering from a broken knee, has been a no-show at the dinner for worldwide cigar lovers and retailers of Habanos cigars, an incongruous meeting of the well-heeled and Communist Cuba.

“I think it is a huge disappointment for everybody,” said Hong Kong businessman David Tang, the main distributor of Cuban cigars in Asia.

Tang said Castro had a “magnetic” presence at previous dinners, where the Cuban leader would go on stage to sign humidors filled with cigars that were then auctioned to wealthy buyers for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Cigar aficionados paying $1,400 to attend the five-day Habanos festival felt let down, because they had been told Castro would attend the dinner, dedicated to the 160th anniversary of the legendary Cuban cigar brand Partagas.

“I’m disappointed. This is small change,” Jimmy Ng, manager of the Cigar Divan in Singapore, said of the five-day event. Ng said he had brought thousands of dollars to buy rare cigars for rich clients, but there were no mature cigars on sale, just recently rolled ones.

“The festival needs a new attraction instead of Fidel,” said a Spanish investment broker.

Britain’s Duke of Marlborough and the Duchess of Westminster, visiting Cuba for the cigar festival, left the island before the gala dinner. Actress Uma Thurman, who was on holiday in Havana, did not attend the event.

Nor did actor Vinicio del Toro and Steven Soderbergh, the director of the 1989 film “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” who were in town planning a film on Argentine-Cuban guerrilla fighter Che Guevara.

A mulatto dancer opened the show. Cuba’s best jazz pianist, Chucho Valdes, played a set, and Spain’s top flamenco dancer, Joaquin Cortes, won a standing ovation for his performance.

Four of Castro’s five sons attended the dinner, and Ricardo Alarcon, third man in Cuba’s political hierarchy after Castro and his younger brother, Raul, stood in for the “comandante.”

But Irons, whose films include The “French Lieutenant’s Woman,” “The Mission” and “Lolita,” stole the show with a plug for cigars.

“Smoking a cigarette is like having sex, and smoking a cigar is like making love,” the actor said.

Humidors signed by Castro and filled with Cuban cigars were auctioned for 530,000 euros ($700,000), with proceeds going to Cuba’s health care system. Some $6 million had been raised in the previous six cigar festivals, a spokesman for Cuba’s cigar industry said.

Castro, once a cigar-chomping revolutionary, gave up cigars in 1986 and now says tobacco is poison and boxes of cigars are best given to one’s enemies.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 05, 2005 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    Uma going to Cuba is nothing new,many AMERICANS go to Cuba to relax and have a good time,but the question here is,why is an American not on official business doing in Cuba while the common (none hollywood stars etc.) Americans cannot visit Cuba for any reason?

    This is something I have been working on for quite a while with the help of many Cubans who work in key tourist areas who have taken snap shots of many American celebs hanging around the streets of Havana.

    Soon,very soon I will be directing these issues to OFAC and other government heads,which cannot go ignored as proof is in the pictures I have been collecting for a while now!


  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 05, 2005 by bernie with 199 total posts

    Young CUBAN:  Don’t be a fink, let the “ofac” do it
      themselves, they get paid for it.  If UMA did you a
      wrong okay tell the “ofac” otherwise your a FINK. 


  3. Follow up post #3 added on March 05, 2005 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    Uma did do me and every other American a wrong,she traveled to Cuba when she is not suppoose to, and by wrong I say she did it with the help of her celeb status and most likely even OFAC’ help!

    When the time comes all will be out,not just at OFAC’ office and other US departments,but all over the media from end of America to the other and hopefully worldwide!

    DVD & Photos only $49.99! hahaha soon baby,soon!


  4. Follow up post #4 added on March 07, 2005 by yumaguy with 176 total posts

    YoungCuban,

    I might be able to help you with this since the office building where I happen to work in NYC edits and publishes some of the best known and read magazines in the country. wink

    BUT,
    proceed with caution, buddy!

    Your efforts to raise a stink about this can backfire big time!

    Think about it. This could actually play well for groups like CANF and other Republican party supporters. Uma’ a shoplifter, she doesn’t represent “heartland values.” And many Hollywood figures are associated with the left so think this through. Cuban politics is the messiest and the nastiest kind. . . :-(


  5. Follow up post #5 added on March 07, 2005 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    Our combined efforts have so far successfully snapped shot nearly 20 celebs in Cuba on none business related trips.

    No photos yet of Uma,but I am sure we’ll get it.

    Some of the other celebs are very admired people,I see your point about Uma,but this issue is far bigger then her.

    Let me guess,you work at the People/Time building? wink


  6. Follow up post #6 added on March 07, 2005 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    >>why is an American not on official business doing in Cuba while the common (none hollywood stars etc.) Americans cannot visit Cuba for any reason?<<

    Why do you assume she is there on official business?  She might have sneaked in like other people do but was noticed by someone.

    I know something about her family.  She’ the type to sneak in and say “F____ the USA government!”


  7. Follow up post #7 added on March 07, 2005 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    Dana,go back and read what I said carefully!

    >>why is an American NOT on official business doing in Cuba while the common (none hollywood stars etc.) Americans cannot visit Cuba for any reason?<<


  8. Follow up post #8 added on March 07, 2005 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    Young Cuban, like I said: she probably sneaked in as, I imagine, many Americans do now under the ban.  You know, she flew to Mexico and from there hopped a plane to Cuba—something like that.

    I would hate to see her get caught for acting morally and defiantly.

    You know that Bush would throw her butt in jail to set an example for others. If she were caught and punished, it could have a chilling effect on people travelling there.


  9. Follow up post #9 added on March 07, 2005 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    “You know that Bush would throw her butt in jail to set an example for others. If she were caught and punished, it could have a chilling effect on people travelling there.”

    Actually it just might be great for her career and I’m sure Hollywood would come to her defense. Then CANF comes out and looks foolish and before you know it, people are asking just exactly why we still have an Embargo against Cuba.

    Go Uma!!!

    Headline: Uma Thurman forces dialog to end US Embargo on Cuba



    Cuba consulting services

  10. Follow up post #10 added on March 07, 2005 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    >>Actually it just might be great for her career and I’m sure Hollywood would come to her defense. Then CANF comes out and looks foolish and before you know it, people are asking just exactly why we still have an Embargo against Cuba.<<

    My fear is that it would get caught up in the usual “Look at what those liberals in Hollywood are doing” crap that we hear so much of on conservative radio and FOX news. 

    The best way is to get about 2-3,000 ordinary USA citizens to go at the same time, to demonstrate against the travel ban and the embargo in front of the USA Interests section, and call a press conference.

    There is no way the USA would prosecute 2-3,000 USA citizens for taking a trip to another country.  But one Hollywood movie star—theyíd gladly fry her.


  11. Follow up post #11 added on March 07, 2005 by YoungCuban with 409 total posts

    I can see your point but at the same time have we not seen stars get away with murder in the past O.J.?

    Seems like celebs do get favortisim by our government and media,not that it seems,we know they do!

    >>The best way is to get about 2-3,000 ordinary USA citizens to go at the same time, to demonstrate against the travel ban and the embargo in front of the USA Interests section, and call a press conference.<<<

    That Dana is something I have been planniong for a while now,but it seems that only a hsandful of people are willing to come along,I only wish I had 500 not 2000,just 500 can make the same amount of impact,at this point we are only 98 of us willing to risk it all for our right to travel!

     


  12. Follow up post #12 added on February 22, 2006 by vivalabam

    youngcuban…..

    I think the main problem I see is that ordinary US citizens are unrecognizable.  Thus, you only see the celebs that do it…. but I assure you they are not alone.

    you can to visit…

    shut your mouth and do it!

    if you can’t you should keep your panties in your pants and mind your business.

    VIVA CUBA!


  13. Follow up post #13 added on February 22, 2006 by vivalabam

    >>The best way is to get about 2-3,000 ordinary USA citizens to go at the same time, to demonstrate against the travel ban and the embargo in front of the USA Interests section, and call a press conference.<<<

    sounds good…but there are probably good numbers traveling there daily.

    nothing new


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