Superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana, Cuba last week, putting the Obama administration under scrutiny for approving the trip.
“U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement yesterday. “Since their inception, the Obama administration’s ‘people to people’ cultural exchange programs have been abused by tourists who have no interest in the Cuban people’s freedom and either don’t realize or don’t care that they’re essentially funding the regime’s systematic trampling of people’s human rights.”
Florida Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart sent a letter to the Treasury Department on Friday requesting more information about the trip. A US trade embargo against Cuba prevents American tourists from visiting the island. President Barack Obama’s administration has loosened restrictions, allowing travel for academic, religious, and cultural programs. Florida’s Congressional delegation insists that that Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s trip to Cuba does not meet any of these standards.
“We’re saying that no one is above the law, even if you are the diva Beyoncé, and that’s wonderful that she’s famous and rich, and Jay-Z, everybody loves him, too,” Ros-Lehtinen said on CNN today. “Terrific. But no one’s above the law.”
Ros-Lehtinen insisted that there were better places Beyoncé and Jay-Z could have visited that would not contribute to a “monstrous regime.” She asserted that the trip sent the wrong message to the Cuba people.
“They want freedom, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z are there to have a good time,” Ros-Lehtinen. “They should go somewhere else.”
Southern Florida is home to most of the Cuban Americans in the US, with over 800,000 living in the area. Over two-thirds of all Cuban Americans live in Florida. Rubio, Ros-Lehtinen, and Diaz-Balart are all Cuban Americans.
Beyoncé will kick off her world tour, “The Mrs. Carter Show,” in Serbia on April 15. Jay-Z will headline at London’s Wireless festival in July. Beyoncé and Jay-Z have attracted large crowds on their trip to Cuba, with local police having to offer additional security.