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. Jay

    So what this author is saying is – "Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, etc..." They are all stupidly promoting a hateful Cuban regime but the USA is smartly repressing Cubans economy and livelihood. Che Guevara was racist = all Cubans are racists apparently. Today is a good day to be Canadian, I can travel freely to Cuba how I wish without my government restricting my movements. Americans cherish freedom and yet you relinquish so many so easily! Who's the fool now!

    April 14, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. shortmemory

    I think that a trade embargo and travel prohibition on a country that had soviet nuclear missles aimed at sites in the US is valid. To my knowledge, they have not apologized for nearly causing WWIII. The bigger issue here is that there should not be special treatment for Beyonnce and JZ because they are superstars. Congressman should not have to talk about this. Send the justice department after them. It seems pretty clear that they abused the system. Those of you who are claiming to be against the republicans and are for the 99% would be hypocritical of you to say that Rubio wrong. This is an example of how the laws seemed to fail to apply to rich. I think no matter who you are it is fair that the law hold the same standards for everyone (which it doesn't always).

    April 14, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. V Four

    Why is it Americans spend there vacation time in the ghettos of other peoples countries? We travel to places like Jamaica and when we get there we are warned not to step off the beaten path, people flock to parts of Mexico and say things like its sooo majestic, when in fact its really very deadly and extremely impoverished, do people from other countries travel to Detroit for a good time? 😛

    April 14, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Ben K

    Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z live in a world so far removed from reality that it is frightening. These two are uneducated ignorant human beings. Disagree?.....Then all you have to do is hear them speak and then watch the absurd HBO special on Knowles. These two are their own worst enemies and they're either too cloistered in non-reality or too dumb to know it.

    April 14, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Keel Hauler

    They are both materialistic, spoiled people who get away with doing whatever they want, like taking over a hospital maternity ward so they can give birth in "privacy" at the expense of all the other new parents there. I hope they get their chains jerked back hard, but they won't. They may have some talent, but that's all and it's not enough to deserve respect in light of their actions.

    April 14, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    "Che Guevara was a racist," Rubio said.
    So were the founders of America racists!
    So is the vast majority of european American racists!
    The GOP is a hot bed of racists!
    In fact, there are more racists in America than in Cuba.
    So by rubio's ridiculous reasoning, Jay-Z should be better off remain in a country with less racists, Cuba. lol

    And if rubio himself want to convince us that he isn't into racism himself, then he may want to go back to Cuba; because USA has far and away more racists than Cuba!

    Typical of the deluded racists to deflect from their racism by pointing to others, in the hope that intelligent minds will be distracted by their devilish deceit.

    April 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Mike

    Rubio is proving he's just a reactionary mouthpiece for traditional right wing rhetoric. Cuba is no threat to the US and the continuing rant is so 60s cold war. Get over it and let an open door policy with that nation do the real work that is needed for change.

    April 14, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Ed1

    What his says by supporting Obama you can do anything you want to that the normal people of the United States can't.

    When will the people of the United States wake up and see the path we are heading and it's not free enterprise but socialism.

    April 14, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Rich De

    Where does China fit into this for Rubio? Talk about delivering currency to a tyrannical regime.

    April 14, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. kathy/Minnesota

    Why no outrage at Dennis Rodman going to north korea, Personally I don't have a problem where anybody goes....but I heard a north korean women who had escaped the "HELLISH LIFE THERE" and she talked about the people eating "GRASS SOUP".....the people there are tortured,enslaved and starved literally to death...and all I keep Rubio talk about is a inprisioned rapper in cuba.... It's so "OBVIOUS"

    April 14, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. sanket

    Americans are biggest hypocrites- They are in bed with Saudis, general parvez musharraf, were friends with dictator mubarak and deal with China with billions in trade (all governments are brutal and unelected)while castro's regime is dictatorial and spending money in cuba is a crime. Not many in the world respect USA and its policies any more because of such hypocritical foolish policies.

    April 14, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Mike Johnson

    Oh Marco, you're fully representing your ineptitude and that of the hilarious post Barry Goldwater Republican party ...... those racial passages where written when he was around 24 years old and first had contact with blacks, and they weren't that bad , just young stupidity, .....and in his later years openly confessed that he was a changed person. He went so far as to fight with an all black army as well as pushing for racially integrating the schools in Cuba, years before they were racially integrated here at home.

    April 14, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. liberal disease

    Jay Z is a capitalist. he supports Obama and supports Cuba, that is a hypocrite...

    April 14, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Inciteful

    [American tourists are] "delivering hard currency to a tyrannical regime who then turns around and uses that to oppress its people,”

    Sen. Rubio, your nickname must be "Rube." Although I agree with you on this topic, U.S. corporate executives are doing the same thing at incalculable levels in their business dealings in China. However, since they contribute to your political campaigns, they get a free pass. Is China less of a threat than Cuba? I don't think so, Rube.

    April 14, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Patiat

    Let's see what's more hypocritical: a rapper going to Cuba, to the delight of the local population, or some tin-horn lil' politician with balled lil' fists and big ambitions stamping his lil' feet in support of a law that limits Americans' freedom of travel in protest of a nation that limits its citizens' freedom of travel?

    April 14, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. bee Anderson

    Can hypocrisy trump hypocrisy? Sometimes you got to fight fire with fire. As a "Hip Hop" mogul, you learn a few trick of the game. If your enemies are angry and complaining, you must've done sum-thin right.

    April 14, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Andrew Harrison

    Rubio is a total hypocrite. How is it that the US has open relations with Viet Nam, a country we lost 58,000 soldiers for nothing, and it is still a Communist country today? China owns us and they are still Communists. All the Cuban embargo has ever done over 5 decades is strengthen Castro, who has now outlasted 10 American presidents. And I suppose Cuba was in better shape when the American mafia controlled it with their puppet Batista in power during the 50's. More proof that Republicans are void of reality, common sense and any justification in keeping this useless embargo in place. Right on Jay-Z and Beyonce!

    April 14, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Thinkergal

    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 |
  19. Cambridge Ray

    I had no idea that trips can be hypocritical....

    April 14, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Patrick Molloy

    Rubio, just stop. You've done enough to embarrass yourself (and your party.) Besides, do you want the treasury and DOJ looking into the oh-so-sordid world of Republican finances/trips? Didn't think so.

    April 14, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Steve Johnson

    Normalized relations are the only thing that will modernize Cuba's politics and economy.

    Just look at China. Capitalism had a tiny door through which to enter China (Hong Kong & Taiwan), and through this tiny door, opportunity came for many.

    The Chinese have liberalized their economy over time, as they began to realize the benefits of private ownership and market economics. "State communism" has become more and more capitalistic over time as a result.

    With Cuba, we absolutely refuse to allow trade relations, and just look at the results. No progress in 50 years.

    April 14, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Cambridge Ray

    If you are Cuban, you got a special deal from the Republicans.

    If you are Mexican, you will get a special deal from the Democrats...

    April 14, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Bob1god

    Rubio used to suffer from foot in mouth disease , but now he's just a giant foot. Good-bye political career. Good riddance to such a shallow mind!

    April 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. shannon2

    Sr. Rubio is right! Look at all the nasty little posts here, including ones that say he should go "back to Cuba". Jay Z and Beyonce got to make a tourist trip the average American is not allowed to....by virtue of their fame and money. It stinks form here to high Heaven! Cuba Libre!

    April 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. seasf

    WHO CARES. politics smolitics... American's have frequented Cuba throughout America's existence. lf you want to relate current nuclear threat in Korea it to Cuban missile crisis.. GET A LIFE

    April 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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