April 14th, 2013
10:35 AM ET
10 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. David Cech

    Rubio is "allowing" people to go places? Who is he? I can go to whatever country I please to and noone is going to tell me whether I am allowed to do so or not. Same with the money. I tax all income in US several times since I pay federal, state , local and city tax. I tax my earnings even when I spend money since I pay sales tax. If this does not give us the right to do whatever we choose to do with the cash I don't know what else will.

    April 15, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Gerold

    Rubio should really try leading his district in Florida rather than finding frivolous issues to complain about. He can no more have a solid opinion of who should visit Cuba, any more than President Obama having a opinion about anyone visiting Hawaii. Shut up Rubio and earn your paycheck for once!

    April 15, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. isabella233

    well a couple of days back, cnn was promoting tourism in a nation that had just undergone ethnic cleansing and genocide.... CNN was promoting Myanmar! JayZ's pick isn't as bad as CNN's.

    April 15, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Mark

    Rubio needs to learn this is a free country, instead of trying to implement travel restrictions just like the ones Cuba has... And since he's stating Che wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans, he should make citations of such work...

    April 15, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Bill

    Hey Marco, I like your clothes that were made in communist china for pennies paid to slave workers

    April 15, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Rob

    Why not focus on congressional business rather than two entertainers on their anniversary? LOL...You guys are pathetic idiots.

    April 15, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Joe Blow

    Americans should be free to travel where they dang well please.

    You ever hear of something called "freedom", senator? You want freedom for Cubans ... I certainly agree ... but freedom for Americans would be nice as well.

    And at least Jay-Z knows Che is dead and long gone.

    April 15, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. evdncepls

    Too funny, talk about big government, Rubio telling Jay-Z where he should vacation.

    April 15, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. Friskie_Jackson

    Well If we want to stop funding Cuba then maybe we should stop snorting so much cocaine. Im not saying stop snorting coke completely, But just bring it down to just a little bump here and there. Or at least wait till the "Harlem Shake" song comes on.

    April 15, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. ShawnDH

    Yawn. More conservative Big Government dictating where US citizens are allowed to travel. Isn't this a free country? Cuba is not scary and right-wingers need to grow up and stop the hysterics. It's absurd.

    April 15, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. Dave R

    Senators from Florida beware of Cuba. If you open up your borders to Cuba and they become American citizens they may control who becomes the next president. Florida is a swing state that has been very important during elections. Just ask al Gore.
    This isn't about the Cuban missile crisis.
    Every country in the world except the US goes there. Other than the little talked about military base at the tip called Guantanamo bay. You're already on the island!
    Next question, how many Americans fly to Canada then fly to Cuba?
    I've been to Cuba but I'm Canadian. Enjoying my freedom to travel where me and family want to go.

    April 15, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. maple

    Hey Rubio, They're entertainers – not politicians. They took a trip to Cuba like so many hundreds of Americans throughout the years. If you don't want to look like the real hypocrite, why don't you take a trip to Cuba and fight for their rights or better yet, why don't you ask the US govt to turn the tables and import products labeled "Made in Cuba" rather than "Made in China". With the US placing financial blocks against that small island for many decades, I'm surprised they survived through it all.

    April 15, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. Dave

    What's hypocritical is recent generations of Cuban Americans dictating our ridiculous policy toward Cuba, then insisting that no one can visit Cuba - except them.

    April 15, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. Bj

    Why is everything about cuban,Cubans in Miami need to keep their mouth shut and stop complaining about what happens in cuban if you people care so much about y'all country go back there stop trying to dictate where a person can travel you people have no say so,so Rubio suck it up like a sore loser from doral where u people hang out at,stop believing the lies that your parents told u because all u guys can go back over there have lunch with Castro and enjoy life jay z and b could care less what u exiles think only in Miami where the boat landed

    April 15, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  15. k4329

    Since last more than forty years we are following the same stupid policy, did we achieved any thing, now it is time to change the policy, permit people to visit freely, and allow people do business.

    April 15, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  16. david

    Rubio was expessing his own views??? The Che quotes were not accurate, he may have had those feelings but maybe Rubio does too???

    April 15, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. athreyi

    Mr Rubio

    Use your time wisely and constructively – dont grand stand, pander and look for cheap publicity. Please find out all other citizens , celebrities that have gone to other countries with laws you dont agree with and please spend even more of your time criticizing them instead of serving our nation – How is your criticism helping? Who?

    April 15, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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