Havana(s) on $65 Billion a Day

by LF (8/97)

I started banging this out after hearing about the eleven-point-something billion that the giant tobacco corporation wusses are going to fling at Florida to supposedly defray smoking-related medical costs. Sheee-it, Governor Lawton Chiles looked like a Catholic Archbishop faced with a room full of fresh young boys wearing nothing but leg-irons.

Now, do you really think that any of the poor dumb yolks currently stuck hauling around oxygen tanks or jamming Norelco rechargeables against their throats to simulate long-gone voice boxes are going to see Penny One of this money? Fuh-huh-huck no! They were just used as a sickly geek show to stir the easy outrage of an incredulous, Barnum-pleasing populace so that the Sunshine State's elected gutter trash could get some Washington-size money to piss away on their ridiculous schemes.

Remember the heavily-reported deal that Big Terbacky recently struck with 40 of the 50 states? It was for $368 billion. If that per-state percentage stays true for the remaining ten, the total will be $460 billion. And the whole wishful crap shoot only buys off the various Attorneys General. If their promises not to initiate further action aren't already weak enough tea for the cynical, remember that the feds and countless tens of thousands of tumorous boneheads and their deadbeat relatives are still clamoring for a spot at the wampum trough.

On the whole, it sounds like a pretty crappy investment of capital.

Hmmm. What else could the Carcinoma Kingpins have purchased with that pile of dough?

Close your eyes. What pops into your head when I say, "wretched shrill kids hawking rotted fish, cheap hot hookers (a calorie-deficient diet does make for slender tarts), Appalachian-quality shacks with shiny chunks of metal and shards of colored glass stuck in odd places, Chinese bicycles, Ricky Ricardo impersonators, and the finest tobacco-growing climate and soil on Earth"? A fat capitalist-pig Cohiba to those who yelled "Cuba!"

Think about it. Cuba has about eleven million people, and their per-capita income is reportedly somewhere around $1250 a year, if the figures I snatched up during a four-minute Web search are correct. Dividing $460,000,000,000 by 11,000,000 souls yields almost $42,000 per man, woman, and child (if I'd had that kind of money at age twelve, I would've ordered up a tanker car full of jellied naptha and a pack of matches muy rapido). In other words, the bribe from the Puff Pimps would be thirty-three times what the average schmoe pulls down in a year of backbreaking field work in sweltering heat.

It stands to reason that that kind of bloated cash offer will cut one hell of a lot of sentimental ties to Fidel Castro. The Uncle Beard show has been on for about forty years now, and it's time to change the channel. If the thought of widespread bloodshed makes any of you queasy, I'll bet that if the rumpled creep and his retainers are offered a big ol' brick of bucks to disappear -- say two billion on top of what he has managed to rape from his serfs over the decades -- there might be no red squirty stuff required at all.

With any luck, National Pride would take a back seat to a shot at a new Cadillac (the only vehicles the comrades have seen since the revolution came from ComBloc shitholes not known for automotive flair), and with a humongously outrageous infusion of cash they could redirect their flag-waving energies towards something equally ridiculous but much more remunerative, like creating a first-rate professional baseball team to humiliate the Yanquis by proxy.

Then R.J. Reynolds and pals could pull up stakes and set up a dedicated Tobacco Freeport nation. No doubt many of the embattled execs are tired of being taunted by twisted freaks like David Kessler and Henry Waxman, and would love to tell Uncle Sammy to go shit in his hat. ("Fuck yes cigarettes cause emphysema, Congressman, I'm just sorry that it takes so goddamned long!")

Now, I realize that Beeg Tobacco is knuckling under to the various government gasbags in order to retain relatively free access to the adult segment of the American market. But there would probably be even more gelt to be made if the evil weed is outlawed outright. Just ask the folks down in Cali, Colombia.

I consider the capper to be the fact that the Butt Peddlers would then have a completely free hand to plunder the rest of the world. Heck, if their sales representatives find it hard to crack what promises to be a particularly lucrative market, the Russki-built MiG-29 jet fighters that'd come with the deed to the island should prove a quite potent negotiating tool.

The huge leafy multi-nationals have got to have enough intestine-analyzers cluttering their hallways to comprehend that, due to the ill-advised opening of the swag sluice-gates in exchange for what will be an astoundingly short reprieve, the bitter end has been drawn even nearer. Equally distressing must be the knowledge that, despite all evidence to the contrary, even Jesse Helms can't last forever. When their most powerful defender gets planted in the hideously red soil of North Carolina, their time-horizon should shrink to a handful of months.

So the time to act is NOW, before the checks already sent out begin to clear! What the hell good is it to be as rich as Croesus if your spine is in hock?

Up the spout