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. PatheticCNN

    The trip was approved and paid by President Obama's White House.

    April 15, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Rubio and his ilk pursue a gutless policy of pandering to a shrinking portion of the Cuban population in Florida to sustain a useless embargo. Rubio must not be aware that China is also a communist country that is brutally repressive but with which we do enormous business. About that hypocritical stuff.....

    April 15, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Milton Sanchez-Parodi

    Hypocritical is our anti-Cuban policy. We claim to want "democracy" in Cuba while we stifle voting in Florida. We want "freedom" in Cuba while we restrict Americans free trade and travel. Sorry Marco, the US does not need your kind of restrictive politics.

    April 15, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. cdub2k

    I'm working with an Anti-Castro group. I'm an organizer Mama

    April 15, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. D.G. Barfield

    why was he invited to go to cuba for anyway? i can only wonder

    April 15, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. ART

    Funny that is the exact word I used to describe Rubios reaction to the trip, actually that is the word i use to describe all Rethuglicans.

    April 15, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 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. And Jay Z was not propping up Che Guevera.

    April 15, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    End the useless restrictions that do NOTHING except keep people from traveling abroad. If Americans can go to VietNam, China and other communist countries, why not to Cuba???? Wanna know why??? A bunch of expatriots in southern Florida who hate (and rightfully so) the government. They somehow have a hold on the government in how we deal with Cuba. I don't see Chinese or Vietnamese immigrants weilding so much power??? Why is that?

    April 15, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. Sabbotage

    Does anyone realize that we have a base in Cuba? We lease that land from Castro. So Rubio talking about US citizens spending money in Cuba is stupid. We are paying for the use of GTMO. I was there and I know first hand that Cubans are getting paid with US dollars.

    April 15, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Steve

    Once again Jay-Z and Beyonce believe that their money and fame has bought them more rights then other citizens. First, they use their own security in a NYC hospital to keep parents from seeing their newborn children, and now this. These two are the most vile, disgusting couple I have ever read about. Neither of you are Ambassadors nor do you have any more clout in politics than any other citizen, yet they both walk around believing they are something more than they are. If this trip was sanctioned by the Treasury Department, the person who approved it should be fired immediately. Sadly, neither Jay-Z or Beyonce will land in jail as they gained approval. Why don't they just go back to being the entertainers (and I use that term loosely) they are supposed to be.

    April 15, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Donnie the Lion

    I think Bill Clinton explained it best on The Colbert Report....the U.S. has saturated its domestic market and must find foreign markets to sell to. When you help build up other countries, you help build up potential customers. Cuba fits in that category.

    April 15, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. ru serious

    These people are entertainers, barely educated ones at that, doing what they do best: biting the hand that feeds them.

    April 15, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. vene

    Message to Marco Rubio Perhaps it is you who needs to inform yourself on the revolutionary leaders you keeps hating on especially when you hasn't lived or visited the country your so against. Che helped liberate Affrica and offered his military and medical services. Stupid Republicans

    April 15, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. Richard Braswell

    What a gas bag..Anything for some attention. How bout splaining why the U.S. is in such a mess with undocumented illegal Mexicans.

    April 15, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. DMA

    This is the same women who traveled to Libya to "entertain" Gaddafi and family! Now I know someone is going to counter by saying she donated that money to charity. She donated that money only after being criticized for going. C'mon!

    April 15, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. bear

    Ronald Reagan understood that you stand up to the dictators, but you engage with the country. He challenged the Soviets militarily, but took away the sanctions Carter imposed and opened up trade and cultural exchanges. He knew that exposure to free societies would cause the populace and some in the government to demand change.

    Those communist countries we have traded and interacted with have all evolved into better governments. Even China has made huge strides in moving from the old Leninist state.

    Only N. Korea and Cuba remain in the old style Soviet model. These are the 2 countries that we have had sanctions on for decades. Open up the doors to trade and interaction. The lies they tell their people cannot stand the light of day. The most powerful medicine to kill soviet style systems is interaction with free nations.

    April 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. Kik!

    Che was a racist, and he taught many Cubans well. Based on first hand experience many Cubans here make it a point to inform you that they are "white," and are quite racist. I'm wondering about you now with all the attention your giving this blip on the radar of more IMPORTANT issues? They are not the first Americans nor will they be the last to visit.
    Please choose your battles wisely, this should be the least of your concerns. They received permission to visit and as Americans have the right to exercise freedoms from which you are also benefiting. What are you doing for the people left behind in Cuba now that it's 93% black? C'mon senator get it together!!! If you are to earn my vote, you have a lot more important areas on which you need to focus.

    April 15, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  18. It's Me

    When you know the king you can do whatever you want.

    April 15, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    Let me co-sign your post Cubankid. Well said! I've been saying the same thing forever.
    The only thing the GIOP is doing by continuing to throw someone like Rubio at us (Latinos) is that they have no idea who we are, nor whom we admire, respect, and listen to.
    You would think that the 2012 Presidential election and whom we cast our vote for in ridiculously OVERWHELMING numbers would give them a clue, but nooooo.......! It is not what they want to hear so they are not hearing it.

    April 15, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Why are people complaining and criticism about this trip Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé should be able go where they want and can go.

    April 15, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. remy420

    Rubio's posturing (presidential ambitions, anyone?) is so superficial and conspicuous that it makes me want to vomit. I am very happy to have visited North Korea four years ago. What an experience! Good on Jay-Z and Beyonce for exploring the world. The US government's stance towards Cuba is outdated and frankly, farcical. It's purely reminiscent of the days when the military thought it might be a good idea to use the mob to rub out Castro.

    April 15, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. So what

    Vile Che Guevara was a psychopathic murderer. He would kill at the drop of a hat and then have lunch and a cigar. Idi0tic people do not know what a killer he was. What most don't know is how he died. He died begging for his miserable life in horrible fear, there was a video that got taken down all over the world. I've seen it. They took pictures of his carcass and cut off his hands and sent it to Fidel as proof. It is good he was buried in an unmarked grave in the jungle. There are few that are so easy to murder.

    April 15, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. scuba45

    Rubio is a hypocrite.
    He supported Mitt Romney who made money from his Chinese ventures and saw nothing wrong with that.
    Anyone who has been to Cuba will tell you that Cubans like Americans because with the tips they make they become independent from the government.
    If Rubio wants to see Cubans free from government dependency, he should welcome tourists going there.

    April 15, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. futureman1

    I can get on a plane this week and go to Russia, China, and Vietnam.. But I can't go to Cuba? Its time to end this charade!

    April 15, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Jeff

    The United States deals with China, a KNOWN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSER, and Vietnam. Both are communist regimes. Then there is Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are human rights abusers, also. Yet Americans may travel to those three countries. Do you see Chinese-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans. and Saudi-Americans protesting? No. Cuban-Americans are the main whiners about trade or travel to Cuba. And there are Americans traveling to North Korea!

    April 15, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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