April 14th, 2013
10:35 AM ET
2 years 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. JohnRJohnson

    Marco Rubio needs to shut up. He tries to talk like an expert but he knows nothing. He's a know-nothing politician whose ambition greatly outweighs his capabilities.

    April 14, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Gringo Bush

    How about China?? I don't hear nobody talking about the Communist Country of China....Talk about being a hypocrite!!

    April 14, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Yanni Panos

    Sen. Marco Rubio is uneducated, calling Che Guevara a racist. Someone needs to inform him that Che went to Africa to fight in Congo and also offered his services as a doctor.

    April 14, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. g

    every country on the planet trades with cuba–except one-usa

    April 14, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. jp

    Well if they got sick their I bet they'd get healthcare

    April 14, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Flavio Arana

    What about all the money Cubans in the US send to their relatives back home? Where do they think those dollars go to? There are millions of dollars that go directly from Little Havana to Cuba every year, so let's talk about who is being hypocritical. Reality check people – MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO 'ROUND!! It always will.

    April 14, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. steve

    The U.S. Cuban community can travel freely to Cuba and send goods to relatives. But the rest of us can't visit the country as tourists and spend our money as we wish. This is liberty?

    April 14, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Jack77

    Does Rubio watch the news? Does he have any idea how many hunger strikers there are at the US Guantanamo base (on land stolen from Cuba)?
    Rubio is the hypocrite!
    Do you realize this "tea party" hypocrite - who takes the name of fighters for democracy from 1773 - is one of the ones responsible for denying you your democratic right to travel to Cuba. It's mighty convenient for this liar that you can't go to Cuba to check up on his lies. Maybe Jay-Z should have visited Guantanamo to see the experts at "repression"?
    What is Rubio's political base? It's the aging right-wing Cuban exiles in Florida, the one's who got preferential immigration treatment from the US government because they supported the old Batista dictatorship and wanted to roll back the Cuban revolution. Just this past week Rubio lied about Jay-Z's trip being illegal to find an excuse to spread his lies about Cuba today. The Cuban revolution of 1959 ended the Batista dictatorship that was backed by rich US investors. It distributed land to farmers, ended illiteracy, attacked racism and sexism, and developed housing, health care, and education. The rich can no longer buy elections in Cuba like they do here! Cuba protects its environment with great care, unlike the empire to the North.

    April 14, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. wellen dowd

    Rubio, and the rest of the lower primates who think traveling as a tourist to Cuba supports a dictator are the real problem in America. These are the same people who support selling (or give away at taxpayers expense) weapons to the likes of any dictator who will do as the US wishes. By the way how many countries has Cuba invaded over the last 50 years? How much weaponry and death do they export? Compared to the US they are a pacifist nation...

    April 14, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Sally

    I don't get Rubio - oh yes, sorry, I do. He's the Cuban exiles' mouthpiece. He can't leave well enough alone.

    April 14, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. bob dole

    "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."

    Seriously? Che was not a racist. He went to Africa to help the people of Congo. This dude needs a history lesson for real.

    April 14, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. DanBran67

    Marco Rubio is a Dumb miss informed , backward thinking politician get him out

    April 14, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. myuntidydesk

    If Jay-Z would just say WHY he went to Cuba, then that would help, but he has to be dramatic and difficult.

    April 14, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Postal Mama

    Oh, so we don't deal with communist regimes...that ridiculous embargo is soooo past it's prime. Meanwhile, China gets most of our dough....

    April 14, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. mlblogscbgoldsmith

    If you need "Exhibit A" in why the Republican Party is nowhere, you need only look at Marco Rubio. Jay Z in Cuba is a non-story if Rubio shuts up. Instead, he continues the 50 year mistake of pandering to one-issue me-me-me Cuban emigres. Communism is dead as Disco yet every time a Republican can think of nothing legitimate to say they trot out "Communist" or "Socialist" to prove they're on that wall protecting us from an enemy who does not exist. Were the Republicans to get a clue and just play defense they might exist in 50 years . The Democrats are not that much better than you, or more noble than you, they succeed by simply being not YOU. By going on the offense, Republicans continue to just be offensive.

    April 14, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. sick of republican phonies

    " They're delivering hard currency to a tyrannical regime who then turns around and uses that to oppress its people,” He could have been talking about our own government's foreign policy over the last 50 years in many cases- Egypt, Iraq, China, Chile, El Salvador...

    April 14, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. The Veteran

    Way past time for this to be over. If we can trade with Vietnam, Japan, and Germany, who were once enemies. If we can get in bed with China, the world's most populous communist nation. We can lift this nonsense on Cuba, and let live.

    We look like hypocrites to the rest of the world with nonsense like this going on.

    End the embargo. End the restrictions. Let Cuba live how they want to live. We are not trying to make China loose themselves of communisim. In fact, we are investing in China.

    April 14, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Name Abu Abdulai

    Senator Rubio, did you pay for their trip? Did they come to you to say, we are going there to see how the politics are, did you get to see how many people were surrounding them, and the look on their faces. Rodman went to North Korea, what you got to say about that. Sometimes, it takes just one person, to make a change. We should look at it from another point. Just maybe, they are trying to get back to the real world. Lets use this guys that have made it to places we have not been in a while as good will ambassadors. Thanks.

    April 14, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Mike

    So phony... If the Cubans had a high population, slave labor, and cash we'd be AOK with hanging out. Seems to me that if a country is willing to sell our stuff and allow us to utilize their underpaid workers to our benefit, then their brand of human rights atrocities and communism is palatable.

    April 14, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Justin

    With all the blind hate can any really argue that he is wrong? If one is really there for a people to people trip... wouldn't it of been good of Jay z to go see a rapper that is being held down by a corrupt governement?

    April 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. EdwardTr

    This is about the Cuban exiles wanting vengeance, nothing more. The policy does not help Cuban people or American policy. In fact stabilization of the relations and trade can actually start democratization of Cuba. If US agrees not to try to go after the communist leadership, and not to demand the nationalized property returned to pre-revolutionary ownership, the Cuban government might just be willing to start democratization process in exchange for resuming trade relationship.
    The one nice thing about communist ideology, is that unlike religion most people convert readily to a market system once they begin to experience the economic benefit. Cuba right now still has a strong and well educated population, but that can change over the next few decades. Cuban exiles are risking this most important asset in favor of their vendetta.

    April 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Elena Ferrero

    Rubio is you travel to Cuba then you will learn a lot more about all the lies your Cuban parents had told you. Also show me where Che ever was racist talking about the superiority of his European background. Che fought and died for the lower black and white classes and he died for those Native American Indians in Bolivia too. Che's name will live much longer than Rubio's. That has been the problem with folks from Miami. All lies coming from the Cuban mafia in Miami. The reason many of those White Cubans in Miami are wealthy and famous is due to the embargo. Is OK to deal with Viet Nam and not with Cuba. Has Castro ever killed any USA soldiers or invaded the USA? THe embargo is obsolete and IT Should had been lifted YESTERDAY!

    April 14, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. allens

    rubio is biased. so tell us o great thinker, what has the embargo done for anyone? what has the conservatives sharp words done? like you, nothing. you have as much chance of being president as my dog. he is a bit smarter than you though

    April 14, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Pete

    I congratulate Sen. Marco Rubio for his intellect, frankness & most of all his loyalty to this great country. I would like to inspire him to go on in educating those who do not understand the principle/principles that this great country stands for.

    April 14, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Ken

    Most of our fat-cat politicians and critics of Cuba smoke illegal Cuban cigars. Rubio may even have a box or two.

    April 14, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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