April 14th, 2013
10:35 AM ET
1 year ago

Jay-Z’s Cuba trip ‘hypocritical,’ says Rubio

(CNN) – Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé were bolstering an oppressive dictator when they traveled to Cuba for their anniversary, Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday.

The trip - which the Treasury Department said was officially sanctioned as cultural travel - only served to expose “the ridiculousness of the laws that we have in place,” Rubio continued on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“We are allowing people to travel to Cuba as tourists. They're delivering hard currency to a tyrannical regime who then turns around and uses that to oppress its people,” Rubio told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé set off a firestorm of criticism when they were photographed in Havana, apparently celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary. After a request from two Republican lawmakers, the U.S. Treasury revealed the pair had traveled on a recently developed “people-to-people” license, which requires a strict itinerary for travelers.

“Quite frankly, I think it's hypocritical of the people who took that trip, because they didn't go down there and meet with some of the people that are actually in trouble today,” Rubio said Sunday.

“There's a rapper in Cuba; there's a hip-hop artist in Cuba who is on a hunger strike and has been persecuted because he has political lyrics in his songs,” he continued. “And I wish they would have met with him. If they really wanted to know what was going on in Cuba, they should have met with some of the people that are suffering there, not simply smoke cigars and take a stroll down the street.”

Later on ABC, Rubio said Jay-Z needed to "get informed" on the politics of Cuba.

"Che Guevara was a racist," Rubio said. "Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African decent. So he should inform himself on the guy that he's propping up."


Filed under: Cuba • Marco Rubio
soundoff (467 Responses)
  1. Christopher Stahnke

    For over fifty years the torrent of lies about Cuba have filled the mainstream media about Cuba in order to justify hostility towards the island to garner the votes of Cubans in Miami–many of whom supported the regime of Battista and American organized crime, a regime worse in almost every way than the current regime unless you're rich. It may not be a workers paradise but it was better, at the time it was born than other regimes in the region that were dominated by narrow racist oligarchies whose rule was guaranteed by U.S. military power.

    April 15, 2013 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  2. EZ

    There is so much hypocrisy in his comment it would take a book to go into the hypocrisy that is this country and repugnant party so I'll just say rubio is a moron

    April 15, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  3. dssampath

    A politician calling someone else hypocritical! Amaing, he must think .hypocritical is his domain and only his!

    April 15, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  4. michael

    the ridiculousness of the laws that we have in place,” Rubio continued on CNN’s “State of the Union

    yes the ridiculousness of a law that gives Cuban special status over all others set back during the Cold War which is long over remains on the books because of people like my Senator who rather than live in the present, they chose to live in the past.............

    April 15, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  5. katrinanation

    Rubio is more than correct. This little "cultural" exchange is baloney. They went as tourists for their anniversary and there was no "person to person" squat. It is illegal to travel to Cuba because of their treatment of their own people. There is nothing hypocritial about Rubio's comments whatsoever. He speaks the truth. Queen Bey and JayZ are doing nothing to help the repressed and oppressed in Cuba, they went so Jay could have those cigars. Its illegal, they were given a pass because of their association with the President and its shameful and embarrassing. Go somewhere legal. Better yet, do something good for their fellow man here in the states. Take some lessons from Angelina Jolie' and do something really humanitarian for a change.

    April 15, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  6. humtake

    It's amazing that the people of this country do more for foreign relations that the politicians do. That's why the politicians are mad...they won't even visit these places or talk to their leaders, but then try to tell America how bad these countries are.

    April 15, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  7. rs1201

    Jay z and his wife are less important than my dog's excrement. Rubio should not be addressing these two publicity hounds...who cares what they do. Truthfully, I'm pretty sure that more than 70% of Americans have never heard these two perform...I'm one of them and I don't feel deprived in the least.

    America has a real problem with North Korea and that's where our entire attention should be focused on...not on beyonce and her husband. The press is spending more time on these two mo rons than it is on North Korea.

    April 15, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  8. Yoseman

    It is completely ridiculous that some of our Senators have nothing else to do but complain about where celebrities are traveling. Whether it be this, or Dennis Rodman, or WHATEVER. Can we PLEASE get rid of ALL of them...no matter what side of the aisle?!?! Demopublican or Republicrat...they are ALL owned by the same corporations and banks...

    April 15, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  9. Mark

    Everyone in America has to at some time, be able to call things the way they really are and quit injecting politics into rationale. JayZ and Beyonce got special priviledges to go to Cuba. They werent there to educate....neither are educators. They werent there to entertain (some may question that as well). They were simply there to celebrate their anniversary. We have laws that prevent tourism to Cuba. I do not like them and I think they are wrong at this point in our worldly discussion, but never-the-less, we still have them. They should apply to JayZ and Beyonce as they do to me. Democrats should have stood with Republicans to impeach Bill Clinton because he did lie......and thats an impeachable offense. We ALL went after Nixon and rightly so. We should have ALL gone after Scooter Libby but the Republicans were fresh off the Democrats refusal to do the right thing due to politics so that had to get them back. Thats the way this political discourse is now and I see it here on these boards too. All of you who engage in it will bring our way of life to an end and something very foreign to our Constitution and Declaration will appear and become law of the land. So those of who who continue this bickering and partisan politics, you have no one but yourselves to blame for complete neglect and obstinence of who and what we are all about as Americans.

    April 15, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  10. Tony

    Everyone of you rightwingers on this post that is spewing garbage without thinking,Petition your poster boy Marco Rubio to try and get the house to pass laws where America cannot deal with socialist countries, and that will include China then I am willing to listen to you rightwingers. . The hypocrits in this country are all conservatives i am very sorry but that is how i feel.

    April 15, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  11. Joe Williams

    We are told by supporters of the Cuba embargo and travel ban that we must take such measures to fight the communists in charge of that country. Americans must be prohibited from traveling to Cuba, they argue, because tourist dollars would only be used to prop up the unelected Castro regime. Ironically, our restrictive travel policies toward Cuba actually mirror the travel policies of the communist countries past and present. Under communist rule in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere it was only the well-connected elites who were allowed to travel overseas – people like Jay-Z and Beyoncé. The average citizen was not permitted the right. – Ron Paul

    April 15, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. Connie

    Figures, Rubio being Cuban and is in Florida. I don't want my government where or where not to tell me to go

    April 15, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. Rod

    Funny, maybe Rubio ought to educate himself on the history of this country..With over 25% black unemployment maybe he should visit some black communities instead of drinking wine with his republican friends at C-PAC and sticking his nose where it's not needed. How about passing a gun bill and doing your job so people will stop dying you in the NRA pocket hack.

    April 15, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  14. Rod

    Study the history of this country.

    April 15, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  15. Chris

    So we aren't allowed to give our money to Cuba but we can ship billions of "hard currency to china" now that's hypocritical.

    April 15, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  16. Bunk

    First of all Fidel Castro and Che Guevara both supported Africans. In there struggle to break away from European colonialism! Why would a man "Che" risk his own life to fight in the Congo, for people he considered racially inferior? A little history lesson for Mr Rubio and other conservatives. By December 1964, Che Guevara had emerged as a "revolutionary statesman of world stature" and thus traveled to New York City as head of the Cuban delegation to speak at the United Nations.[130] During his impassioned address, he criticized the United Nations' inability to confront the "brutal policy of apartheid" in South Africa, asking "Can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?"[152] Guevara then denounced the United States policy towards their black population, stating:
    "Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men—how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?"

    April 15, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. Bill Peterson

    That's pretty funny, seeing as how his family went back to Cuba for a time after Castro had taken power.

    April 15, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  18. Greg Clapton

    Mr Rubio, Bounce and Jay-Zero are not the problem it's money. They can afford to payoff anyone for anything and get away with it. President Obama while denying he had anything to do with the trip is responsible since the Treasury Department works for him. Does anyone believe they were on a cultural exchange, no! These two are not educated enough to understand what Cuba is and the crimes against humanity the Castro regime has commited. The only thing these types of people know is taking away their money. You have the power in the Senate to Tax the rich and hit them where it hurts, their pocket books!

    April 15, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  19. Chas

    @Anonymous – ? European Americans, sorry but I've NEVER heard that one, as far as I know whites are the ONLY race that don't have an identity problem, don't need to be called ____ Americans, and most don't go for the generic/continent name, you're more apt to hear Irish Americans, Italian Americans, German... whatever, however most white Americans are complacent simply being called Americans.
    Back to Cuba/NKorea, ...anything I could do to keep Rodman, Jay-Z/B,... in NKorea/Cuba I'd be more than willing to help!

    April 15, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    In the words of Jigga, "Politics as usual"

    April 15, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  21. AC

    As if Marco Rubio, himself, and the rest of the GOP didn't write the book on hypocrisy.......Give me a break.

    Who elected such a do ofus to office?

    April 15, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  22. Miguel Caron

    >"Che Guevara was a racist," Rubio said. "Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African decent. So he should inform himself on the guy that he's propping up."

    Ghandi also thought Africans were inferior, but we don't hear people complain about his following often.

    April 15, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  23. Jules

    Who's trying to groom Rubio for a 2016 run? Bozo? The GOP has to currently have the dumbest members in history.

    April 15, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  24. BMWuser

    Rubio is extremely "hypocritical"!
    1. 100's of Miami Cubans freely travel to Cuba every day.
    2. Miami Cubans spent 100's of $millions in Cuba each year. "Giving" to Castro's government.
    3. U.S. government restrictions on American's rights to freely travel is like Castro's for Cuban nationals.
    4. Tea Bagger "Big Government" whining only applies when it is not in their special interests.

    April 15, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  25. indianriver

    Che was also a brutal killer/murderer that slit the throats of the rich at will and anyone that opposed the Central Marxist ideology which he proported. He did not believe in the right to property, free speech or press.

    Che was from Argentina, was the son of rich, political parents, and was GREATLY influenced by former members of Hitler's SS that fled Germany to Central and South America (including his town in Argentina) after WWII.

    People don't realize that he was so bad for Cuba, Castro asked him to LEAVE. He tried to start a revolution in Bolivia, but people didn't want it, they already had: Free speech, press and free-market economy. He was found wondering the woods and died an appropriate death at the hands of a prison guard in a dilapidated camp in Bolivia.

    People that wear Che shirts do not realize what they are wearing. It is absolute ignorance. It is the same inflammatory symbol to Cubans as wearing a Hitler shirt to Jewish people. Anytime one sees a person wearing those shirts should tell them they should study more history.

    April 15, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
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