Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 19 April 2013

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This week, we have more on that continuing soap opera, “The Carters Go to Cuba,” along with the status of the Cuban trade embargo under President Barack Obama.





Thanks to celebrity couple Beyonce and Jay-Z (aka Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Carter), economic sanctions against Cuba are back in the news. Since the pair spent their fifth anniversary in the communist-controlled country, some in the Cuban-American community have been up in arms, questioning whether the trip was legal or prudent.


Just a few days after returning from his time in Cuba, Jay-Z released a rap that has thrown more fuel on the fire. Lyrics like “boy from the hood but got White House clearance” from “Open Letter” have led some to speculate that the couple received special treatment from the administration due to their friendship with the Obama's. A spokesman for the President has denied this, referring queries to the Treasury Department.

One of the most outspoken has been Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is considered to be a front-runner for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016. Rubio complained, “U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime. 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.”

While Rubio’s comments may appeal to his right-wing base, they’re at odds with the opinions of many Americans. A recent poll from Florida International University showed that 57% of respondents favored lifting all restrictions on travel to Cuba, 57% favor re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and 80% feel that the embargo hasn’t accomplished anything.

Since travel restrictions were eased by the Obama administration, hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken advantage of the opportunity to visit Cuba through the “people-to-people” cultural exchange program. Obviously, those travelers don’t agree with Senator Rubio.

Maintaining sanction against Cuba makes even less sense considering that the U.S. allows relations with other communist countries. Jay-Z also pointed out the hypocrisy of banning relations with Cuba while allowing them with China: “I'm in Cuba, I love Cubans/This communist talk is so confusing/When it's from China, the very mic that I'm using.”

So can we finally expect an end to the Cuban trade embargo before President Obama leaves office in 2017? Since he’s won a second term and doesn’t have to run for office again, Obama could be leaning toward making some significant changes.



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