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. Philo

    If Martin Luther KIng Jr. was alive today he would be ashamed and embarrassed to have sacrificed so much to have people like Jay-Z, Beyonce, and all the rest of this entertainment demographic be the most prominent and respected sector of the African American community.

    Jay-Z and Beyonce deserve more respect than Benjamin Carson?

    And liberals have the gall to dare criticize white conservatives?

    Are you out of your minds?

    April 14, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Freedom of Speech

    Why go to Cuba? Let me take this one: Umm... For the SAME reasons "EARNEST HEMMINGWAY" lived in CUBA – "JAY-Z" & "BEYONCE" went there because it's a lovely island with a number of fine resorts, especially catering to the rich. There, asked and answered. All I can say is these Republican./Tea Party, right-wing, anti-American, racist, Cuban, domestic terrorist living is South Florida, better not spend one penny of REAL AMERICAN taxpayers money on an "investigation" of REAL AMERICANS like "JAY-Z" and "BEYONCE" – If they do they should be arrested and put on trial for treason against the United States Of America. and sent back to Cuba were they belong! – WHY does the media pretend that this small group of crazy , Anti-American Democracy, right-wing, CUBAN’S living in Florida of all places somehow speaks for Latin Americans? They DON’T – They speak for a small minority of extreme, right wing, racist, CUBAN expatriates, that live in South Florida – PERIOD! So come on media enough is enough – STOP pretending these rightwing, CUBAN extremist like this phony RUBIO speak, or in any way reflect the views of Mexican Americans or Puerto Rican American – THEY DON'T – The CUBANS in Miami hate other Hispanic cultures – they even hate the CUBAN'S living in CUBA – Most CUBAN immigrants living in Florida want to be White not Latino. The "REAL CUBAN'S" live in CUBA not Florida. – The CUBAN'S living in Florida do not reflect the Latin American experience at all – MEXICAN AMERICAN'S remember the Alamo – CUBAN immigrants (at least the ones living in Florida with Rubio) fondly remember, and cherish – Batista regime fascism, corruption, rightwing death squads, The Mafia, illegal kick backs, slot machines, drugs, prostitution, and the White, Gringo, Gangster, owned Casinos – That's their vision of CUBA and a Cuban style Batista America! These right-wing Florida, fascist, Anti-American Freedom & Democracy, Florida CUBAN'S need to focus on American issues instead of using their position to personally try to attack the CUBAN people and their Government. We are allowed to travel to China a country that eats Dogs and Cats, and guns down its own people in Tiananmen Square, China is the biggest human rights violator, and communist country, out there, so what's wrong with going to CUBA? Way to go BEYONCE, and JAY-Z – Enjoy your CUBAN rum, and bring home some CUBAN cigars...

    April 14, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Jack

    Che Guevara fought for African liberation in the Congo in 1965 after the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba , was overthrown and executed in a coup backed by Belgium, Britain, and the US. Che was murdered on US orders after being taken a prisoner of war in Bolivia.

    April 14, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. felix rodriguez

    Mr Rubio....do u get upset when basic human rights are violated in Saudi Arabia? Say something against the "Royal Family" and see where u end up. How about Viet Nam...we trade with them and travel is allowed. Not only a communist country, one we were at war with and lost 57,000 men. This embargo is costing us millions maybe billions of dollars in trade. We do business with countries for the MONEY, or because they have something we need. Not because we love them.

    April 14, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. bellarue

    The only hypocrisy I see is Sen. Rubio and the other supporters of this absurd law banning travel. Why is it that you can go to China, Vietnam, Russia and other countries with less than stellar human rights records. For that matter, it is always interesting and amusing to me that the U.S. is much, much less interested in the human right abuses of nations with whome we have friendly relations. Now THAT is hypocrisy.

    April 14, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. charles

    Politicians are still holding the American people hostage regarding to Cuba. We have overwhelmingly embraced Russia, China and almost all the other communist countries except for Cuba. Its been too long that America, unlike the rest of the world has been pushing this failed policy. Cuba will scum to change as did the rest of other communist countries. Lift up the embargo, the Cubans and their leaders will realize what they have been missing. The Arabs have woken up . The Taliban will wakeup too. You cant suppress democracy for life.

    April 14, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. cvyder2000

    Rubio needs to look in the mirror and see who the real hypocrite is. He doesn't give two whoops about Cuba OR human rights records. He's just repeating what a few old Cubans and the money people tell him to say. If Cuba were to suddenly become a US-style democracy tomorrow, he wouldn't go back and neither would most of the Miami lot (or Calgary Ted, for that matter). They have it too cushy here. The whole travel restriction thing is ridiculous BS anyway.

    April 14, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Lawrence Knight

    Gee, maybe next time Rubio and the Senate plan a junket to Saudi Arabia..our close "oil" ally..he should remember that they kill humans because they are gay..guess THAT kind of racism doesn't bother Republican hypocrites much

    April 14, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Daphne

    This was not a political trip so shut up.

    April 14, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. Nasi

    Perhaps Mr. Rubio needs to brush up on HIS history! At the height of the Cuban Revolution, black people in THIS country were considered second class citizens. The Jim Crow South was FIGTING to keep its schools, restaurants, residential areas, and ALL aspects of life SEGREGATED! President Johnson's Civil Rights Act wasn’t signed into law until 1964. And to THIS day MANY communities in the South and elsewhere are governed by racists, who advocate the segregated proms and social activities, upholding the bigotry and hatred that dominated the US for centuries! Another history tidbit for Mr. Rubio; the good ole US of A, was established by the enforcement of Manifest Destiny and the obliteration of the Native American and the exploitation and enslavement of the African and other minorities. And let’s not forget the multitude of politicians, including his colleagues, Gingrich, Romney, and Bachmann, who have made some very UGLY AND RACIST statements, before, during, and after the 2012 campaign, not to mention the categorical ideological racial bias the Republicans have adopted in this country! And, white supremacy groups are currently experiencing resurgence in the US and Europe!

    Che Guevera was a socialist, who detested the YANKEE IMPERALISM of Europe and America, which had tried to overrun Cuba and had a capitalistic and political stronghold on many impoverished countries, including the African continent. After the Spanish American war, the US who had been an ally to Cuba, started buying up ALL of Cuba’s resources and fertile land, using the guise of industry to rob the peasant farmers and consequentially making them second class citizens in their own country. Over 80% of industry in CUBA was owned by foreign countries. Baptista and his predecessors allowed his people to be victimized by the Imperialists, who created an environment much like that in colonial Africa, where the Anglo/European countries are allowed to come into impoverished nations, rape them of their natural resources to the tune of BILLIONS in profiteering, while the indigenous and native people remain uneducated, impoverished, and disenfranchised!

    He considered himself a freedom fighter, who wanted to assist the rebels in Africa, against the American and European supported puppet governments, not a RACIST. And his writings of the European being superior to the African were based on his PERSONAL MILITARIAL experiences, whilst deployed in the Congo to train their rebels, not some base and vile Caucasian racial supremacist idiocracy. Guevara’s opinions were derived from the undisciplined, superstitious, unmotivated, and ill lead Congolese rebels, who seemed more intent on continuing in their disorganized and unconventional military tactics than becoming a formidable militia force equipped to overthrow the government. Would a RACIST risk life and limb and dedicate monetary and human resources to a people he thought racially inferior? Yes, he criticized the militarily ineptitude of the African, who had been systematically deprived by colonization and their Anglo occupiers, but he also admitted that the Cubans were guilty of not doing their due diligence before embarking on their mission to the Congo. Those are the historical FACTS Mr. Rubio. To this day, US/EU backed governments, imperialism, colonialism, and capital gains, has diminished any attempt at rebellion or revolution in many an Africa nation into petty squabbles between local warlords, who kill each other in disputes over small territories of control of the black markets.

    April 14, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. drake mallard

    Marco Rubio Really Admires Dead Racist Jesse Helms.

    April 14, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Matt

    The country needs to snap out of its Cold War mindset when it comes to Cuba. The trade/travel embargo with Cuba makes zero sense. Sure, it was a logical thing to do for a time after the Cold War, but Cuba is no longer a strategic or ideological threat to the United States. Someone else brought up a good point when they said that people are allowed to travel to all sorts of countries with oppressive governments, such as Russia and China. And of course we trade with these countries. There is nothing hypocritical about Jay-Z traveling to Cuba. Rubio is just popping shots at someone he views as a poster-child for liberalism.

    April 14, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Howard

    I wish the Miami Cubans would just get over themselves. They weren't brave enough to stick around in Cuba after Castro and try to mount a reverse revolution, so they bugged out for Florida with their money. Ever since then, they've made their personal pique with Castro our ridiculous national policy.

    What a crock!

    April 14, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Gavin

    But yet he did not complain about the other celebrites who have traveled to cuba mulit times. Kind of funny he goes after the people who support obama

    April 14, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. kathy

    Ya know....I don't usually agree with a single thing that comes out of Rubio's tongue-forked mouth...but I think his statements were somewhat valid. I think it would have been a huge political and human rights statement if they had gone to see that rapper or visitied some of the people in poverty and who are being oppressed by the govt. Instead of strolling around waving and saying "look at us"....y'all know who we are??

    April 14, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Rubio is in the news so much he's wearing his welcome out before the 2016 campaigning begins. He didn't say squat about Romney going to China to buy a company and throw American $$ around in THAT communist country. I'd say Rubio is the hypocrite.

    April 14, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. steve

    wish they would have kept both of them!

    April 14, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. bearitstrong

    “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..."

    Don't expect too much from a rapper and pop star – and you won't be disappointed.

    April 14, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. archieb15

    I am from Florida, and I know the history of oppressed Dark people around the word, but let's start with Florida. I guess Rubio forgot the free pass Cuban's received into Florida, when Haitians have always caught hell trying to enter, and Cubans or Cuban-American's did not speak up for them. Or did you forget the race and class system that Cubans and Cuban-American's perpetuate against other Latino's whom they consider beneath them. Isn't that why you're saying as of today, that you're going to make it hard for them stay, in your so called immigration bill.

    I think you need to check your history, starting with the State of Florida. It's always some non African in America, trying to tell African's in the diaspora about our history. As we say in the Black community, that fool talking out 2 sides of his mouth.

    I served my country, and I became a disable veteran in the process, but because of racist like you, I decided I could not continue to serve, because serving would mean supporting people like yourself. I am not a J-Z or Beyonce fan, but they are of African descent, and I take issue when non Africans try to explain our history to us on racism, as though their hands are clean.

    April 14, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Name Uche Agonsi

    Is this the same Rubio that is dusting his mantle for the post of US Presidency?......I think POTUS is great diplomats.

    April 14, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. von

    If people think that Jay Z went to Cuba to stroll down the street, they are ignorant. Jay Z is one of the biggest business men in hip hop. But the USA is the biggest oppressive nation on the planet- Can you spell C-A-P-I-T-A-L-I-S-M??

    April 14, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. frank nosella

    Doesn't surprise me. In 2008 Beyonce performed for Qaddafi's family, when he was in power. She accepted this blood money. When other entertainer's learned of Qaddafi's oppression of his people, they donated the money to charity. Nelly Furtado for one. Beyonce kept the money. Her religious rants seem so hypocritical.

    April 14, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. DZ

    Everything in GOP land is always a conspiracy. You would be amazed at some of the garbage you hear on a daily basis, from Obama's taking away all my guns to, Obama's putting chips in peoples heads to monitor them (no kidding I actually heard that one last weekend). Paranoia at it's best, background checks should start taking this kind of nonsense into account as well.

    April 14, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Gary

    As a fellow Floridian, I did not vote for him...
    Rubio is so full of it...

    April 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Greg Clapton

    Mr Rubio, Bounce and Jay-Zero are not the problem it's money. They can afford to payoff anyone for anything and get away with it. President Obama while denying he had anything to do wit the trip is responsible since the Treasury Department works for him. Does anyone believe they were on a cultural exchange, no! These two are not intelligent enough to understand what Cuba is and crimes against humanity the Castro regime has commited. The only thing these types of people know is taking away their money. You have the power in the Senate to Tax the rich and hit them where it hurts, their pocket books!

    April 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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