Jay-Z and Beyoncé are in hot water after video footage and photos of the couple dining and touring in Cuba surfaced on the web. First, the couple was slammed by Mauricio Claver-Carone, the D.C. director for the US-Cuba Democracy PAC. He revered the couple’s trip to his native country as “insensitive” and “ignorant,” citing all of the issues the country is facing with unwarranted abuse and poverty as examples of why they should not have chosen to visit.
Now Republican lawmakers, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both of Florida, are calling for an investigation into the couple’s trip to the country. “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,” Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart wrote in a letter to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. “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,” they wrote. “We support the Cuban people by refusing to sustain their jailers.” The lawmakers also noted that the couple 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.”
In 2012, the Obama administration lifted some of the restrictions on travel to Cuba, instituting a “people-to-people” travel program that 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,” U.S. Treasury Department guidelines read. Earlier in the week, Jay-Z announced he’s going into the sports agent business, landing New York Yankee star Robinson Cano as his first client. TMZ speculated he used this as an excuse to get into the country.
Since Jay-Z has often bragged about his friendship with the POTUS, now would be a great time to call up his homie Barack Obama and ask him to clear he and his wife of any potential penalties for their trip to Cuba.