GOP lawmakers call for probe of Jay-Z and Beyonce trip to Cuba
GOP Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart Call for Probe into Jay-Z and Beyonce’s Trip to Cuba

Republican lawmakers Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart are calling for an investigation into Jay-Z and Beyonce’s trip to Cuba. Ros-Lehtinen wrote in a letter to Adam Szubi, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, saying “despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda.”

The letter also said, “The restrictions on tourism travel are common-sense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly, and belief.” Adding, “We support the Cuban people by refusing to sustain their jailers.” The letter also noted that Jay-Z and Beyonce connected with “a community of many who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of murdered innocents.” 

Cuban-Americans aren’t too pleased with the Carters for their five-year wedding anniversary trip to the communist country either. Jay-Z and Beyonce proved they are oblivious or ignorant to the racism being endured by many in Cuba. They partied and enjoyed the best Havana had to give them, while ignoring the repressive regime’s record on human rights. It’s curious and troubling at the same time that they could ignore the fact that blacks are treated as second class citizens in Cuba. This should be a flashback to the scourge of racism in this country, but money talks, right? On the flip side, thousands of Americans visit China every year and I don’t hear the outrage from the right wing. In fact, we are up to our necks in debt to a Communist country, so go figure.

The hitch to their trip is that though the Obama Administration lifter some of the restrictions on travel to Cuba, a “people-to-people” travel program specifically requires a strict itinerary for vacationers: “Each traveler must have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.” Gee, I wonder how Beyonce and Jay-Z plan on explaining all this? Um, now would be a good time for Beyonce to put on her “Can I live” T-shirt. Seems like Beyonce is becoming a real thorn in President Obama’s side. First she lip-synced the national anthem at his inauguration and now the blowback from their Cuban vacation. Wonder how they got permission to visit Havana?

Here’s the letter formally challenging Jay-Z and Beyonce’s trip to Cuba in its entirety:

The Honorable Adam J. Szubin
Director
Office of Foreign Assets Control
Department of Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Director Szubin:

We write to express concern and to request information regarding the highly publicized trip by U.S. musicians Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Beyoncé) and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) to Cuba. We would like to respectfully request, within all applicable rules and guidelines, information regarding the type of license that Beyoncé and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel.

As you know, U.S. law expressly prohibits the licensing of financial transactions for “tourist activities” in Cuba (Section 910(b)(1) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act).  If these individuals were given people-to-people licenses, we would like to bring to your attention the Cuba Travel Advisory issued by OFAC on July 25, 2011 which states, “OFAC only licenses People-to-People Groups that certify that all participants will have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.” These restrictions are in place because the Cuban dictatorship is one of four U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism with one of the world’s most egregious human rights records.  Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people.

Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda. We represent a community of many who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of murdered innocents.  The restrictions on tourism travel are common-sense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly, and belief.  We support the Cuban people by refusing to sustain their jailers.

Thank you very much for your assistance in this important matter and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen                                        Mario Diaz-Balart

Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress

Watch footage of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s trip to Cuba: