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Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 12 April 2013

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This week’s story was originally to be about the Cuban trade embargo under the Obama administration, but a news story popped up that’s too interesting to ignore. When celebrity power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce chose to spend their fifth anniversary in Cuba, some conservative voices were raised in protest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After photos of the pair vacationing in Cuba were published in the news media, two Republican members of the House of Representatives called for the Obama administration to investigate whether this trip violated U.S. sanctions against citizens visiting the communist country.

 



The letter from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart stated: “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…

“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.”

Unsaid but obviously a factor in this criticism is the close relationship between the Carters and the Obama family. Both Jay-Z and Beyonce have been major supporters of President Obama and hosted a big-money fund-raiser for his 2012 reelection campaign. Does this mean that the pair received a special favor from the Prez that allowed them to take this forbidden trip?

Not necessarily. While the trade embargo remains in place, sanctions on travel to Cuba have loosened considerably over the last few years, and many ordinary citizens are able to visit the country—not just well-heeled celebrity friends of the President.

Back in 1999, President Bill Clinton initiated what are called “people-to-people” licenses that expanded the opportunities for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba. In 2003, President Bush imposed post 9/11 travel restrictions that curtailed the issuing of the licenses. Still, 50,000 travelers were able to visit Cuba in 2004, down from 200,000 in 2003.

Then in 2011, President Obama made policy changes that made it possible for more citizens of the U.S. and Cuba to interact. These looser restrictions resulted in a huge rise in the number of Americans able to visit Cuba.

Bob Guild is vice president of Marazul Charters, one the country’s largest organizers of travel to Cuba. He told the New York Times, “We estimate 375,000 to 400,000 Cuban Americans will visit this year and another 50,000 in other categories of legal travel.”






Comments 

 
0 # RE: How You Can Visit Cuba – Just Like Jay-Z and BeyonceWilliam Carrington 2013-04-22 19:58
Although we can't afford one, National Geographic constantly send us its Expeditions catalog which offers trips to many places including Cuba, I suppose they would be under the 'educational' label, but we ain't scholars so for us the trip would amount to tourism. So I wish people would get off JayZ, Beyonce, & the Obama admin. I'm not special and I could go to Cuba for about 11,000$ for 7 days. And you could too.

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