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. BG

    it is a total joke how we deal with Cuba. open it up like any other country for travel. We deal with much larger evil regimes like saudi arabia and china.

    April 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. mitchgam

    If it was ANYBODY but Marco Rubio making the charge, I could take it seriously. He does have a point

    BUT, Marco Rubio is a liar and hypocrite himself, so him calling someone a hypocrite is liek the pot calling the kettle black.

    April 15, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Jeb

    Americans are free to travel to North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China....why not Cuba?

    Because a bunch of crusty old Cuban exiles say so?

    April 15, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. greg smith

    hypocritical ... really i guess its ok for cubans to travel as well as send money to familiy on the island but not ok for anyone else to see how beautiful the country of cuba really is. Just another way for the republican base to get Rubio in front of camera.I wonder what is the real motive .

    April 15, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. the ripper

    If the Cuban regime is so evil and an affront to the US why do ALL of our allies have the right to go there? Canada, Great Britain.....the list goes on. The fact is we are the only country that restricts travel there because some old Cuban's that were part of Batista's brutal regime are angry they were ousted for grinding their people into the ground. Cuba had a 92% poverty rate with Batista and one of the lowest literacy rates in Latin America. Castro was a better alternative and the people knew it. We punished the Cuban people and continue to do so because of our mentality of being a superpower; bullying.
    We have great relations with Vietnam now where we lost more than 55,000 American troops.
    Where is the logic?

    April 15, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. Irvin Hicks

    We are all part of the same hypocrisy Senator – Michael Corleone, Godfather II

    April 15, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Sugardaddy

    Here's what I hear, blah blah, I'm going to run for President so I have to feign outrage at something, blah blah blah.

    April 15, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |

    Che wrote the racist comments when he was 24 and first intermingled with Blacks. He later changed his views but I see this fact was not expressed in this article. DO NOT PROMOTE HALF-TRUTHS!

    "Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?" – Che Guevara

    April 15, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. joe

    Oh shut up... just end the stupid blockade already.

    April 15, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. danita

    No only really thinks Jay – Z is smart... Waste of time here.

    April 15, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. sam

    He need more water !!! have a sip Rubio !

    April 15, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. HenryB

    I just do not understand why we still have these laws against Cuba. This tiny nation is being treated as if it was the most dangerous country in the world with sanctions that approach those we impose on Iran and North Korea. And the only reason why these sanctions are in place is because of the bellicose Cuban community in Florida. When Rubio talks like this it is only to bolster his credentials with the Republican Cuban community and with the rabid right that sees a threat in every corner and behind every tree.

    April 15, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. HenryB

    Ron Jeremy's studen double says

    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.


    These sanctions were put in place many many years ago when the Soviets were trying to get a foothold in Cuba. Times have changed but you clearly have not. Your lack of historical perspective is astounding.

    April 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Dave

    I have never understood this insistence on clinging to the notion that we must maintain a travel embargo on Cuba. It amazes me that the only country Americans are not legally allowed to visit is because of an ideology over which the war has long been over. Meanwhile, the ideology over which we are currently fighting (terrorism) exists in many many countries we can freely visit. There are no travel restrictions on countries like Yemen, Mali, the Sudan, Iran, Syria, Algeria, Libya or even on the most dangerous country on the planet, Somalia. I suspect as the generation that lived during the cold war gradually dies out, so too will the longest grudge ever held.

    April 15, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Deb

    Whatever our relationship with Communist China is, it is "against the law" to travel to Cuba. I totally agree that doing business with communist China was/is wrong because we are feeding them $$$$ and made them stronger than the USA. But that was greed. However, the law is that no one should travel to Cuba and give them $$$. Jay-Z and his wife think they are above the law and used the POTUS to get there. Obama must be furious over this. I never understood how he and his wife condone the gyrations (sexual) of Beyonce and have their daughters think it ok. I thought they were raising them with class and dignity...but Beyonce is not class and has no dignity...just a pretty face!! The pres needs to do some damage control now and erase these two from his friend list!!! They will do him more harm than good...he is made to look like a fool and was duped. This is the caliber of people the pres wants to be associated with?? Not the person who I thought I was voting for!!!

    April 15, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. me

    Really...and whats with that wig on top of her head?...................want does she wants to look like?

    April 15, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. Producer_Jeff

    UGh I've been to Cuba enough times. Lived in Havana. The country is poor but the people make due. The government isn't this extreme and oppressive force like in some Stalinisitc nightmare. It's a poor country with a dictator for a leader. Their new dictator, the other Castro brother, Raul, is actually pretty progressive and is slowly trying to introduce ownership and entrepreneurship in his country. The population is VERY young, they know how to bypass government censorship, get on Facebook, and try to be as free as possible. People fly into Havana with 50 flat screen tv's and boxes filled with iphones and androids.

    There are major problems there but they are internal problems and they are changing, for the better. I've seen it with my own eyes. Before commenting about Cuba, why not go there? if you can't, go to another country like Cuba and see how the people live. Get a different perspective. I think it's great JayZ went there. It opens the doors more and gives more of a face to the Cuban people who are exceedingly non violent, love music and love to live...except...Cuban's cant cook worth a damn..there...i said it. their cuisine sucks. Other than that, if you can America, go visit. You'll love it there. Everything is fried in pork fat and the beer is super cheap. 😀

    April 15, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. Colin

    Maybe they went down there to tour Guantanamo Bay prison? You know, the place where American tax dollars are spent on oppressing people. Rubio is a hypocrite. Everyone in the current administration is a hypocrite.

    April 15, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. allens

    talk about hypocritical, you are in a party that hates minorities. that is a big one mr. rubio. you see the problem with conservatives is, they do not care about people and their problems unless it happens to them or their families. what nerve.you have. you are a perfect tea party sissy and conservative leader

    April 15, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. jla1125

    Regardless of what one thinks about Jay-Z and Beyonce, they are private citizens who hold no public office and who have broken no laws. Their trip to Cuba was sanctioned by the Department of State. I find it highly disturbing when a publicly elected official makes critical comments about the lawful activities of private citizens regardless of what anyone's opinion is of those activities. Rubio's job, first and foremost, is to protect the rights of U.S. citizens. If he wanted to criticize the State Department's decision to sanction the trip then he should have stuck to that. But he was completely out of line when he decided to criticize the apparel that a private citizen wore. What clothing that a private citizen decides to wear is none of his damn business.

    April 15, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. Angryagain

    Marco Rubio and a couple more here should be better informed before expressing half-truths about what Che Guevara stood for. True that he made racist comments in his diary while he was driving his motorcycle through South America and he encounter black people for the first time in the slums of Venezuela, long time before he became Che Guevara. He later admitted that he was wrong, and even went to Congo to fight along black militia. So even if you don't share Che's points of views and actions, just do it the right way. Alas, now I remember you are the GOP, and that is the way you do business,.

    April 15, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. nc1965

    Listen people.

    JZ is given way too much news time.

    He's nothing more than a thug with a 9 figure income. Who also has a wife that once bought an establishment for $5 million so that she would not have to use the bathroom with regular people, only to sell it for $2 million.

    You can take the thug out of the hood but you can't take the hood out of the thug.

    April 15, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. c.l. gibson

    Rubio needs to shut up and get back to work on the REAL ISSUES

    April 15, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Dr. Tre

    The main reason the embargo continues is because Florida is a key electoral state. No politician wants to lose an election because they alienated the Cuban vote in Florida. Add to that the torpid nature of policy making in Washington. Eventually, travel restrictions will be lifted and the rest of us can get on with it. While I do not support nor deny human rights abuses in Cuba, they have accomplished some good for the poor, especially with literacy and health care.

    April 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Blue

    Rubio, your fifteen minutes are almost up.

    April 15, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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