Thursday, December 16, 2004

Cuban Contraband

I keep eating these coffee beans to keep myself going. I have never really drank coffee, even when I sold coffee at Soulard a few years ago. I started drinking espresso about a year ago when I would stop in at a place called La Bohemme. But since they stopped serving lunch this fall I switched to eating the bean. Now I eat about six to ten beans a day. I started about four or so months ago. Sometimes I drink coffee, but usually I just eat beans. What a bad habit. Unfortunately I haven't been eating fair trade coffee beans like the ones I sold back at the market, but they are the ones I have gotten my hands on.

Eating all these coffee beans reminded me of a story. A couple years back I crashed City Hall to meet up with some peeps that work there. Just prior to going I stopped at the old Chocolate Bar. I noticed that they had many types of chocolate there. They had fair trade, organic and, yes, Cuban. Cuban chocolate. I don't know how they got it, but they were selling it. They said there was some sort of loophole that you can import small amounts of Cuban goods, but I am nearly certain that is false. But then again, that "Cuban" chocolate could really be coming from Ghana where they are likely using slave labor to harvest the beans.

So I bought a bag of this Cuban chocolate took to City Hall. At each office I would greet the secretary and tell them who I was there to meet. I then offered them some chocolate. I then gave Mayoral Aides, Alderman and assistants this chocolate. I offered it to them all the same sincere way. Their eyes would light up when they saw the fancy bag with this delicious dark chocolate. I told them it was "handmade chocolate from the new Chocolate Bar." Their eyes lit up even more. Then I looked to the left and to the right, and said with a somewhat hushed tone "They told me this is Cuban. I think that is illegal." Every single one would smile and take a few pieces of chocolate. "It is our secret." And we would laugh. Every time. That day I made lawbreakers out of City Hall.

Hey, Cuban chocolate is far more in the spirit of fair trade than most of the African chocolate. Funny how our foreign policy works. Castro is a jerk for jailing 75 people last year for political grounds. But 10,000 people are dying every month in genocide in Darfur and we only warn Sudan that we might impose oil sanctions. God bless the USA.

I think I will eat the Cuban chocolate. Castro is still a jerk though. It is time for him to go, but let us get to first things first.

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