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. scuba45

    I think what is hypocritical is that Rubio supported Mitt ROMNEY who made profits off the people of China.

    How does he dare to criticize people who travel to Cuba but not those who invest in Chinese enterprises? Does Rubio use electronic equipment such as laptop and I phones made in China?

    Wo who is the hypocrite?

    April 14, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. Black Xicano

    yeah, Che was so racist he went to Congo to ignite revolution, too...

    April 14, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. thurston

    Before Castro America was supporting a dictator and the mafia in Cuba, When Castro came to power most of the corrupt politicians and their supporters fled to Florida. Where's the highest crime rate today? Why do American politicians scream when their corrupt governments are overthrown like in Cuba, Iran, etc. Then the bantering for democracy starts from America that wasn't there when dictators and crooks were running those countries.

    April 14, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. Dan

    Rubio needs to relax, maybe drink some more water....
    Che racist? So were our founding fathers
    Communist ? So is China
    lol crazy guy trying to come up fast

    April 14, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Bobpitt

    To Ed1 :

    The reason you can't go to Cuba has nothing to do with Cuba, but a bunch of people that hate their own country and has dominated the agenda of the embargo, Canadian go there every year, and so do Europeans, and south Americans atc..call you congress mans and ask to lift the embargo.. fifty years and has not work, and it won't work..

    April 14, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. ragged andy

    Now, Mr. Rubio (who did not accept public aid because of his consistent principles), really? If you had any sense you'd be embrassed

    April 14, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. arrgster

    It's absolutely ridiculous to make statements against tourist dollars in Cuba using the claim that it's propping up an oppressive government. We send BILLIONS of dollars to china everyday and they are very very oppressive. Rubio unless you want to include china, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and a few hundred other counties in the "US citizens can't go because they are oppressive" I think it's time to end this stupid law that achieves nothing except repressing my freedom to travel where I like.

    April 14, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  8. davidvalentine

    Mr. Rubio.. why do you give a rats butt about what Jay-Z does? Just to keep yourself in the news? Fact is, I doubt very much that Jay-Z cares what you think.

    April 14, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. SecrtSqurl

    A Republican token talking about someone else being a hypocrite. Classic

    April 14, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. scuba45

    The majority of Americans want the freedom to travel to Cuba.

    How much longer is this country going to be held hostage by Rubio, Diaz Ballard and Ileana Ross?

    Don't we live in a democracy where the majority rule?

    April 14, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. albert

    What is hypocritical Mr. Rubio is for a Catholic turned Mormon, turned Catholic, turned Baptist (all the religions that you have converted to), act as if God is partial to only Americans. God does not posses the hatred that you do.

    April 14, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Larry L

    I've visited Vietnam and was pleased to see how well they've moved on since the war. In a war that was none of our business, we slaughtered the Vietnamese – destroying an entire generation. Still, they are able to accept Americans in their country with warmth and friendship. Cubans will do the same when we stop allowing the bitter and vengeful remnants of a right-wing Cuban aristocracy to buy our foreign policy with their votes. Rubio is just an anchor baby who milking the situation for his personal gain – the male, Cuban-American version of Sarah Palin.

    April 14, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Raquel

    Marco Rubio just thinks he needs to be the broken record for the Miami crowd who keep insisting on this crazy policy that has not accomplished the intended purpose of getting rid of Castro. The whole policy towards Cuba is antiquated and in need of a makeover. Another Cuban with a different view.

    April 14, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. the cuban GOD

    RUBIO!!! is the worst fake cuban ever he is a liar, a snitch, a hoe for the doe ,a coward and a fake ,he knows nothing about cuba or the cuban people!! especially nothing about jay-z or his beautifull wife, rubio is at the bottom of the ladder!! he knows nothing about politics his whole carrier!!! somebody get that guy out of the world and its issues please not only does he change sides every week he just likes to confuse every 1 get him out!!!we need less people like him in politics!! if eny one is a bad guy its u rubio!!!! stop pointing fingers and making other people the bad guy!! and running away we know it is realy yoooouuu alreadyy!!!

    April 14, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. djpooky

    what's the point of going to a vacation anywhere? when Jay-Z goes to a beautiful place like Italy, is he expected to solve their political problems? news flash Rubio: every country has political problems. we live in America where last last time i checked our violence in inner cities & homeless problems still aren't solved yet. the ironic part is he has more of an influence of solving those issues vs. Jay-Z solving Cuba's problems yet he's the one to criticize Jay-Z.

    go fix our budget & other issues Rubio before u start criticizing Jay-Z's "vacation"

    April 14, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. DJ Reality

    Mr Rubio is a hypocrite. He is a right wing mouth piece. That's what I think of him.

    April 14, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. Bob

    Rubio's argument is hypocritical. We're buddies with Vietnam after a bloody war years ago. We trade with China, a Communist superpower. They have their own human rights issues. North Korea is on its way to a nuclear weapon. The West is doing nothing about it. What has Cuba done since the Cold War? Not much.

    According to Article 55 of the UN Charter, the United Nations shall promote: a) higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development; b) solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; c) international cultural and educational cooperation; d) universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

    In Communist countries, you can't have b, c, and d without a. In the West, you can't have a, b, or c, without d. Everybody is for human rights, they just have different ways about it. Things got better in China in the long run after the Nixon visit. I'm fairly sure things will get better in Cuba in US begins to normalize relations. We need labor and we need trade. Cuba is a neighbor.

    April 14, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. bankerken

    If would could only generate that kind of concern for 26 children and adults, who were just attending school. I just find it incredible the Senator Rubio, he of the faux "Mommy and Daddy barely escaped the island during the revolution story". That's hypocritical. Now as for the travel plans of Jay-Z and Beyonce, it's a non story. Are they the first celebs to go to Cuba. Check the records, I think not. The reason these stories get light and life is our lazy media outlets. Too much energy is spent on this nothing. The question is why. The answer these two are supporters of the President. If we could just pivot from this cream puff and really place the power of their cameras on real issues and concerns of the American people.

    April 14, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Jack

    A quote for Senator Rubio:
    Former South African President Nelson Mandela in 1991 on a visit to Havana declared that: "Che's life is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom. We will always honor his memory."
    Search for: "Che Guevara in popular culture" and take a look at the Wikipedia article.
    See the section, Political Praise, half-way down. Or simple search the quote: Che Guevara is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom

    April 14, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. Elliott Carlin

    I have a friend who returned from Cuba (She's from another country) w/two sets of coins. On the back of the one for the tourists, it said "Country & Freedom". She was able to obtain coins used by the locals...theirs said "Country or Death".

    But hey, Shawn Carter and Gisell Knowles Carter, known in the hoods as JayZ and Beyonce', made it political rappin 'bout their boy in da White House. I'd like to visit Cuba too. Think I'd be allowed to?

    April 14, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  21. Jose Lopez

    Mr. Rubio, anything that has to do with Cuba, you get so angy, upset and offensive about, but what about what happens to the rest of latinamerican countries? such as Venezuela, Bolivia, etc, how come you dont say much about? You brand of truth changes so much like when you changed religions, stories about your parents, etc. etc. etc. I am not in favor of the Cuban regime, but I am not in favor of someone like you and your rethoric; its repetitous and old. True, you get paid to solve problem: please solve something and stop saying so much, it does not give much of a change to do anythings. Live and let live, we pay you to help, not to hinder.

    April 14, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. John

    Its illegal for us to spend money in Cuba but the government and corporations have bent over backwards to do business with China and Russia for their own gain at every citizens expense. Makes a lot of sense. Who is the hypocrite?

    April 14, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  23. SK in VA

    The guy takes his wife to Cuba on vacation and you call him hypocritical because he doesn't make a big political thing of it? Isn't that kinda backward? I think Rubio's lost sight of what it means to be a nonpolitical person.

    April 14, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. whocares

    Just because politicians and cubans have a problem with cuba, it doesn't mean that everyone else has to have a problem with Cuba.

    April 14, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  25. cubans hate rubio

    Rubio u are the fakest cuban ever some body get him out of office he has got to be the worst politician ever he is a snitch ,a coward, traitor to his own people and the country. he changes sides on ever issue every month to confuse every 1 we need less politicians like this man!!! Rubio is at the bottom of the ladder !! he knows nothing about cuba or the cuban people!!or politics his whole carrier!! if eny one is the bad guy its u Rubio stop pointing finguers and then running away to futher ure political carrier we know its u already!!

    April 14, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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