April 14th, 2013
10:35 AM ET
9 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. ali

    che was killed by CIA assisted bolivian operatives. what was the CIA doing there and in neighboring countries? helping keep latin american subjugated and in line with american interests. our current stance with cuba is probably just spiteful bullying over still being upset that they threw off our yolk of imperialism when they kicked batista out and chewed us up at the bay of pigs. we dont care that the cubans are communists. if we did we wouldn't be doing business with china. we dont care about any of that stuff. (we're real buddy buddy with those theological maniacs the saudis right?). we care about green and sending a message to pay your 'tax' and dont mess with the family. we are the mafia and we cant let this stuff go or it'll hurt our cred. we're international thugs.

    April 15, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  2. Brian

    It's funny that some news organizations have shown footage of both celebrites among school children, which was the purpose of their trip to begin with. They ask for permission to make the trip, with a reason, the reason is granted, and they meet with the kids.

    Yet it's the Tea Party, against big government, who demands government to stay out of the way, with the problem, even though both celebrities did what they intended to do, and the gov't stayed out of their way. Hello Pot, meet Kettle.

    April 15, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  3. LikeLiz

    Listen, I understand they wanted to celebrate their anniversary, but really? This is a big world and Cuba is a tiny little island. Jamaica? Bahamas? Morocco? Cuba wouldn't even have been on my RADAR!

    April 15, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  4. Ozzie

    You need to grow up, little Marco. Your hypocrisy is so evident.

    April 15, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  5. leain scott

    You have Jay-Z & I am sorry, but his wife does look like a maid with that thing on her head. They look and act more like communist than American, who would walk down the getto named Cuba, and not check on our suffering Americans there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!just saying

    April 15, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  6. UDidntBuildThat

    Ever heard of the Cuban Missile crisis? Most of u Obama sheeple don't understand the history of relations between Cuba and US. Guevera help to facilitate this crisis that almost led to a nuclear attack fr Cuba. If J&B are such champions for the poor then why would they support a regime that keeps their people in poverty and in the stone age?
    We ban travel b/c of a tyrannical govt that kills their people. Any money that goes there goes to the govt to continue to do this. China does not have such relations with US. Worse was Jayz wrote a wrap song about how Obama gave the ok. Nice to see the campaign contributions pay off. Just think of the fit you fools would be having if a Republican sanctioned this.

    April 15, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. UDidntBuildThat

    K. in Miami- I too am fr So. Flo. Rubio was overwhelming elected by the Cuban community. Please stop making stuff up.

    April 15, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |

    Here's a caveat for you haters. Jay Z and Beyonce went to Cuba on Cultural visas as ENTERTAINERS! How many Americans are able to speak to political prisnoners in Cuba? You politicians, especially those republicans that are criticizing them for not speaking to the political prisoners in Cuba are hypocritical. Hypocritical in the sense that as having Cuban descent, you didn't go to Cuba to speak to those people that are suffering today. I bet Rubio and those other 2 Florida reps that sent the letter to the Treasury department demanding how they were able to travel to Cuba, have the same opportunity to go and speak on the downtrodden in Cuba, but NO, it's much easier to sit on their asses and criticize 2 citizens who went to Cuba on VACATION. Where was the uproar and outrage when Ted Turner went to Cuba? Here is another thing. Rubio and those other 2 reps could get to Cuba on political visas, have secret service protection while there and have access to Cuban government representatives on behalf of all those people they say Jay Z and Beyonce neglected to speak to. I bet even if they wanted to Jay Z and Beyonce would have been denied access to the prison.

    April 15, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  9. Sonia Prince

    Hypocrite is Rubio stating in many political speeches that his parents had fled Castro's rule; when they had actually left before Castro was in power.....Rubio doesn't have a leg of credibility to stand on!

    April 15, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. UDidntBuildThat


    Che Guevara was a racist!
    And Thomas Jefferson kept slaves.
    Maybe Mr. Rubio should get educated and experience, before he mouths off.
    So u compare Thomas Jefferson fr over 100yrs ago to a guy that was around 50yrs ago? really Does 2 wrongs make a right? Really? I thought we denouced racism today and even 50yrs ago when Republicans were fighting DEMOCRATS to make racism illegal!!!

    April 15, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  11. Peter T

    Rubio: "“We are allowing people to travel to Cuba as tourists." Thank you for your generosity, Senator, but no thanks – we don't want your permission to travel to a country not at war with the US, which would mean that you could revoke the permission to travel. Mr. Rubio seems to have the mindset of those people in East-Germany who blocked their people's travel with a wall. And for the money that tourist give threatening dictators – wouldn't tourists to China and North Korea be guilty of that but not tourist to Cuba? Cuba is no threat to the US.

    April 15, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  12. Rarco Mubio

    Glad Rubio is focused on the big problems in the U.S., like rapperr's vacations.

    April 15, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  13. doughnuts

    If you want the "oppressive regime" in Cuba to fall, then end the travel and trade restrictions.

    April 15, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. Karl

    To call someone actions hypocritical is saying I have done to opposite of that. Rubio is fake Cuban that all he want is to gain power.
    What has the Cuban community done to help end the communist regime in the island, nothing. You look at any other nation that have gone
    Through the same oppressive regime that the Cuban have and they all these nation has in one way or the other end the regime. Cuban are coward,
    liars and opportunity, all they want is to whine about their suffering and have the US Government support them. Rubio is all these and more, he is worse because now he has power and he has done nothing to help the cause of the Cuban in Cuba…

    April 15, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Cubankid

    I am Cuban. I find it ridiculous that people like Sen. Rubio talk about how evil the Cuban government is, but neglect to say anything about China. Mr. Rubio does not represent Hispanics or Cuban Americans. He is a puppet and has been lead to believe by his rep friends he has a chance with Hispanics. Nothing can be further from the truth.

    April 15, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. Ron Jeremy's stunt double

    JFK put the embargo on Cuba and now the left wants to blame the GOP for people not getting to travel there. Well, I guess it really was the GOP that put the ban in place because JFK's policies were mostly conservative. Who tried trickle down economics first – Reagan? No. Kennedy.

    April 15, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Xavier

    This "presidential wanna be" IS a hypocrite. Like all the other South Florida Cuban politicians ( the Balart brothers, Ileana Ross Lehtinen ), they only care and cater to, their fellow Cuban exiles. He has the gall, the "cojones", to foster an immigration bill that will impose a 10 year waiting period on undocumented foreign workers, before they can begin their final process for citizenship, which can total 13 years. All this, while Cubans that wash ashore South Florida are eligible to not only stay in the U.S., once their feet 'touch dry American ground', but also to apply and usually get all kinds of public assistance. That is correct, U.S. taxpayers. Your taxes, that money that gets deducted from your paychecks, part of it, goes to provide Cuban exiles with food stamps, medicaid, Section 8 housing and eventually, social security.
    Meanwhile, other hispanics coming to the US from other countries, face many hurdles in applying for the same benefits and more often than not, also face deportation. Mr Rubio should ponder these facts and realize that most latinos, other than Cubans, will not give them the time of day, should he become the GOP's pick for the White House in 2016, which is really a long stretch. Regarding Beyonce and Jay-Z, give it a rest. Anyone can travel to Cuba via Canada, Mexico, Jamaica or Panama, sometimes, even without getting their US passport stamped. Rubio, the Balarts and Ms. Ross Lehtinen, are pissed because the people that went there in this case are African American and most of the people the media showed surrounding them in Cuba, are also black. A considerable number of the Cuban exiles in Miami are racists and recent Fidel Castro for changing Cuba's ethnic majority from mostly Spanish descendants to those from African countries, including Angola and Mozambique, adding to the afro caribbean population that was already present on the island when Castro took over in 1959. Mr Rubio is a total hypocrite and as such, has no right to say anything regarding Beyonce and her husband's trip to Cuba.

    April 15, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  18. Lou

    Please! I live in Miami and know all about how Cuba's OWN PEOPLE who claim they are being repressed, come here to Miami and then actually are the ones that go back to Cuba and spend money and/or give money to their family. Cubans also send money via wire to their families in Cuba. So Cubans basically are hypocritical of the very same things Rubio is saying. I hate to admit it, Miami really is a third world city.

    April 15, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. mommajcole

    This is why Republicans are losing people left and right. It's shameful to make such noise about something, that is insignificant, when compared to the real problems that need to be handled by Congress. Instead of interviews on CNN, they should be focused on GETTING SOMETHING DONE THAT IS ACTUALLY CONSTRUCTIVE TO THE U.S.

    April 15, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  20. Thomas

    Every penny they spent there went straight to the corrupt government and regime that harms its own people and Americans. What kind of a vacation is that? – and sanctioned by the White House no less. What the hell agenda is this??

    You and Marco Rubio must have drank the same Kool Aid as cold war children.

    Tourism and trade opened the way for democracy in Burma , why not in Cuba . The more tourism in North Korea , the sooner the regime will change.

    Rubo's stance on Cuba in not about the Island having freedom and justice. It's about Miami Cubans being composted financially for the property they abandoned in 1959. It's all about MONEY , not human rights.

    April 15, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  21. Muzak

    Rubio, a Cuban, only cares about what serves his interests. He cares about the American tourist money being spent in Cuba on perfectly legal trips, but doesn't speak a word on tourist money being spent on a country like North Korea, or American government money, or that is American taxpayer money given as "foreign aid" to a long list of countries, some of them being far more oppressive to its people than Cuba. Who's the hypocrit?

    April 15, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  22. PushingBack

    This whole thing is ridiculous! Americans can easily travel to places with much more oppressive regimes than Cuba, and with far more hostility towards the US. It is far past the time to lift the restrictions and let capitalism take it's course in Cuba!

    April 15, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  23. Papabear

    I guess in Rubio's mind this is wrong when it is right to continue the tax cuts for the rich that were invested in communist nations, China and Vietnam. Enriching those communist nations is okay that weakens our Democracy. Two faced!

    April 15, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Brad Klitzke

    For most of Americans, the Cuba embargo seem antiquated. Yes, they have a tyrannical and oppressive government. So does China, yet we don't have any issue filling our stores and houses with their products. So, who is the hypocritical one now?

    April 15, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    Yes, we did hear of the Cuban Missle Crisis. But who was the mastermind behind this crisis? In other words, where did the missles come from? They came from Russia, yet we continue to trade with Russia while we impose sanctions of little Cuba. O' and by the way, as we speak Russia has ICMS pointed at every major American city. Yes, I was appalled by JZ's stupid song and I'm no fan of JZ but this is a free world and he should be entitled to go where he so chose.

    April 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19