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. John

    Rubio, mister chief hyprocite for the GOP, calling someone else hypocritical?
    Sorry bud, but I can't hear your words because your actions talk too loud. Maybe when you learn how to practice the "personal responsibility" you preach someone will listen. Until then... shove off. Especially since while you lambast Cuba you don't object at all to people traveling to Saudia Arabia (how many human rights violates), Israel (apartheid South Africa's supplier of arms and whose actions would have made an SS general proud), or China (TIbet, forced labor, etc).

    April 15, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Jesus Christ Superstar

    Shouldn't Rubio be working on laws & stuff instead of whining about someone elses vacation?

    April 15, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Daryl Etheridge

    I find it hard to believe that in this day our countries leaders can talk about dictators and communism when our biggest imports comes from a communist nation which has suppressed it's people for centuries. Check the history books on that Mr. Senator.

    April 15, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Ryan Evans

    you mean that the guy who sold crack to the poor of his neighborhood and shot his brother over a drug debt but now gets national praise and white house invites is a hypocrite? Imagine that...

    April 15, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. Tony A.

    Never been to Cuba, but heard many men from Europe and USA go there to sleep with girls.

    April 15, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. judeamorris

    Cultural exchange? Please. Cultural exchange presumes a level of understanding and learning. So they visited a dance troupe and saw some other artists (all government sanctioned, of course). If you want a true cultural exchange (and I am no Rubio fan), then meet with the rapper whose freedom of expression is being squelched by the government. Learn why people were so desperate to escape Cuba that they rafted to Florida. See ALL of Cuba for what it is and bring back that understanding to share, not a stupid song excusing your behavior.

    April 15, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Good lord these Republicans sure love to beat a dead horse, Get over it Already Senator Rubio, they went and came back let it go.

    April 15, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. carlos


    Can't people just celebrate an anniversary anymore? Seems to me Rubio and those like him are politicizing this for their own selfish gains. It was my experience living in Florida that most non-Cuban Latinos don't much care for Cubans. Cubans have gotten a special deal from the U.S. government for half a century.

    April 14, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm | ......Thinkergal, you are 100000000000000% right !!!!!

    April 15, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. CChan

    "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.

    April 15, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Socrates

    Some people say that American tourist don't go to Cuba. Wrong. Every year more than 150.000 American go to Cuba through Mexico or through our free country, Canada. And the Cuban Immigration do not stamp their passport because they know they will be fined $7000. There is nothing wrong with American tourists, they are excellent people. Too bad the Americans are still not 100% free people, one day, one day my friends you will be totally free as we Canadian are. Don't dismay, freedom will come sooner as you expect it.

    April 15, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. ray

    this overated senator should be deported back to cuba. this man rubio is the laughing stock og the red necks on the right. he is dub the rising star of the republican party, hahahah i wonder which star the media is talking about???????????/

    April 15, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Howard

    Who is Rubio to say "hypocritical"..Who is he to say they "shouldn't go there"..It is both common and legal for those with the means to help in the very areas that Rubio lamented about regarding the poverty and history of the country. Partisan rhetoric is what's spewing from his mouth is all..

    April 15, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Mark Lube-io

    Wow, did he really say that Che Guevara was a racists? Seems like he has a little bit of history to learn himself...

    April 15, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. blady

    Sen. Rubio, why don't you use your time and energy focusing on something that matters? The country's debt and its effect on the economy, gun safety, immigration–just to name a few!

    April 15, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. carlos

    end the freaking EMBARGO, to hell with the likes of the fat lehtinen, idiot diaz-bahlart and most of all imbecile rubio

    April 15, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. GianCarlo

    I wish this guy would just shut the hell up. What does he call it when the Dixie Chicks were called traders when they voiced their anti Bush chant? So please Rubio, if you're going to criticize Cuba, why don't you clean up your house before you point fingers.

    April 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. BMWuser

    FLORI-DUH speaks.....Rubio the Spokesman.

    Rubio is extremely "hypocritical":
    1. 100's of Miami Cubans freely travel to Cuba every day.
    2. Miami Cubans spent 100's of $millions in Cuba each year. "Giving" to Castro's government.
    3. U.S. government restrictions on American's rights to freely travel are like Castro's for Cuban nationals.
    4. Tea Bagger "Big Government" whining only applies when it is not in their special interests.

    April 15, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. FactsRBad

    Rubio calling others a hypocrite – well aint that the pot calling the kettle black!

    April 15, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. islanlyff

    Many Cubans living in south Florida think like Rubio....they are the wealthy descendants of those who fled Cuba during the revolution...that ousted a corrupt Batista. The revolution was necessary, instead of providing assistant to an ill equip Castro to pull the country forward. The US impose sanctions. Americans travel there all the time. Delta has daily flights to Cuba from Jamaica. Its not hard or expensive. I have realitives who have been.

    April 15, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Sharon Sockwell

    Jay Z and Beyonce are private citizens and where they go is their business,my question is what is white america afraid of. Lots of people travel all the time to Cuba, do anyone dictate where you spend your anniversary or if you even have one. Just because President Barack Obama enjoys them as an entertainer does not make Jay Z and Beyonce for America. If you donot like what they did as far as spending their, their, their money, well too bad.

    April 15, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Jeremy

    Must be the new fad for celebrities to visit rogue states. Rodman still has them beat tho. I say we label them as treasonous traitors and sanction them right along with these governments.

    April 15, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. lolo

    So says the man who lies about his heritage. Just shut up all of you crazy republicans. You make no sense what so ever.

    April 15, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Morgan

    I always find it interesting that the U.S. is just about the only country in the world, and certainly the only major power, that makes Che Guevara look like a psychopathic villain. Many European and Latin American countries view him as a hero for social justice. I don't know each side's perspective, but I hardly think that you can call him a racist. He fought for the rights of the native people. Whether his methods were correct I don't know enough to say but he certainly wasn't the vile human we paint him as in the U.S. I think the American people should really look into views of different world leaders from the perspective of people in their home countries. We would all be shocked at the lies we get told about some of these people.

    April 15, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. lharris

    Sheesh Politicians are fans of the half truth. Che Guavara had racists thoughts in the early early days of career. Later he recognized the error of his ways and pushed for integrated schools in cuba, here is a quote from him "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?". He was not pushing racism he did many many things wrong but being a lifelong racist was not one of them.

    April 15, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Jim

    the trip only served to expose “the ridiculousness of the laws that we have in place,” EXACTLY. Cuba is no threat to the US and the prohibitions we have against travel to Cuba are antiquated and serve no practical use. The Cold War is over, and its 2013. Check a calendar Rubio, ya freaking goober.

    April 15, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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