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. K. in Miami

    You have got to be kidding, I live in Miami and I work with alot of Cubans, they are embarrassed by Mr. Rubio. He represents and parrots the ideals of the rank an file hardcore tea party republicans.

    Maybe Mr. Rubio has some advice to give, after all he supports alot of American racist......

    April 14, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. ARJim

    Run, Rubio, Run! With Bachmann as V.P., Palin as Secretary of State, and Limbaugh as speech writer, you cannot lose.

    April 14, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Canuto

    Mr Rubio, just want to say that you are right on ... look at the people that attempt to criticize you, they cant even spell (haha). Thats because theyve been brainwashed by the Dems ... keep on speaking your mind, us free thinking, free spirited Americans understand you ... Thank You! (from Mexican-American Independent from Texas)

    April 14, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Im. Congo

    Che a racist? Not when he came to fight in the Congo with his african brothers!

    April 14, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Johnny

    It's funny how people attack Rubio's statement on Guevara by calling white settlers racists. Nice deflection, but WAY off-topic. Jay-Z didn't verbally sentiment for white settlers, he expressed sentiment for Guevara, who was not only a known racist, he was violently opposed to any concept of a free society.
    Get real, children, You just don't like Rubio's politics. But it doesn't make him wrong and Jay-Z right about the topic at hand.

    April 14, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. JJ

    What amazes me is that 'THIS IS THE COUPLE THE U.S. sends to Cuba?
    A street Thug and his talented female wife?
    Where's the logic and Obama (as usual) blames someone else (the State Department) for the trip.
    Like blaming the Secret Service for canceling the WH tours???
    Are the U.S. citizens wising up now????

    April 14, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. carlos

    the three stooges : curly paul, moe rube and UGH cruz......pathetic trio

    April 14, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Wally

    Rubio doesn't want to offend the anti-Castro miami crowd and he doesn't want to offend Jay-C and Beyonce fans. Tough sledding for a person whose character is determined by popularity.

    April 14, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Steve Mison

    Rubio is spot on. Jay Z clearly has no clue who Che Guevara was. Anyone with a high school education knows how he felt about blacks. Oh well, as long as you look cool. That philosophy has served the hip hop community well.

    April 14, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. Charles Spencer King

    Tremendous interview with Candy ! Rubio proved he was enemy number one for Latinos with his immigration obstacle course. Proved he is a puppet of the NRA and out of touch on gun controls. Proved he embraces 55 years of failed policy and an enemy of his ancestors and the Cuban people. Watching this interview confirmed just how out of touch he and the Republicans are. Finally, he clearly is an egotistical elitist who wants to be President.....God help us.

    April 14, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Warren

    Rubio, not surprisingly considering he is a Cuban Republican, has once again made himself appear to be a fool. Anyone who has actually studied knows that Che Guevara took huge steps in order to help all people and that these "racist" lines came from a diary in his youth (people change) and as a result of his first encounter with black people – in the slums of Venezuela. As he grew older he renounced such statements as his view of the world grew and experience taught him otherwise (as most older Americans can, I hope, acknowledge happens in ones life). "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?" Rubio should stop skewing the facts and stop being the "racial puppet" of the Republican party. "Extensively wrote about his racist ways?" Get your facts straight Rubio. Che stood more for the people of the world than you do for your own Cubano heritage within the US. Done.

    April 14, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. herrick9

    All I can think of is that the Tea Party Sen. from Florida is mightily "confused" in his whine
    Perhaps too much Chinese food?

    April 14, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. OttawaMensCentre

    Sen. Marco Rubio Sounds like a 78 RPM recording of Kim Jong-un .
    Rubio should take the hint. The days of anyone listening to his diatribe
    against Cuba are over.

    The Cuban Government has started a series of changes that are accelerating
    as is the communication between the US and Cuba.

    Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé did the world a favour and its time for
    the Republican's to start working on building relations
    with Cuba that will provide the changes that they
    claim are a prerequisite.

    As a Canadian, its rather nice not having millions of Americans in Cuba.
    When the US opens travel to Cuba,
    everyone else in the world will be pissed off.

    April 14, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Glenn

    Che was a racist. Interesting. Senator Rubio, good grief, not only did you say this morning on State of the Union that you had not read the gun bill, but now your telling us about Che. Senator, in all do respect you are a disgrace to your office. Che has been dead over 25 years. What is your point? Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. George Washington owned slaves, what is your point?

    April 14, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. Nathan

    I don't even need to say anything asides from look at all the comments that suggest that this article – and this law – preventing TRAVEL is bull. Who even embargoes Cuba? You're fighting over something that happened decades and decades ago.

    April 14, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Bazinga

    Che Guevara was a racist!
    And Thomas Jefferson kept slaves.
    Maybe Mr. Rubio should get educated and experience, before he mouths off.

    April 14, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Truth

    "Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African decent."
    Why do people constantly deny the obvious fact that all Whites are superior to blacks? If you ever deal with any of them, it's a fact that slaps you in the face every single time. Anyone believing that blacks are equal to White Men, and that they are "just like us", has obviously never met or had to regretfully interact with one of them.
    People are entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

    April 14, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. kel

    Rubio is nothing more than a prop for the Repubs. Talking about the pot calling the kettle black.

    April 14, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. sid

    jay z is free he wanted to spend his wedding anniverssary with his wife in cuba he is free to do so . he is not a politician he is a music artist . who knows he want to trace his ancestary root may be the origin of his family is from there come on give the man a break let him go whenever he wants to go this usa not russia .

    April 14, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. Namemicmacman

    why is this even news. jay-z and most rappers are irrelevant anyway. thier message in the "music" is generaly negative and derogetory anyway. the "music"itself is a missnomer. rap is an excuse for people who cant sing to take financial advantage of the young and impressionable. same as produced boy/girl bands...only purpose is to make money. the whole thing was a look at me event as both thier stars are on the wane. worked huh

    April 14, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Jez

    Take a Valium, Rubio. Its just a vacation. I have tons of friends who have vacationed in Cuba, and who loved Cuba and the people.

    April 14, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. al tulo

    Just because you can rhyme words and put them to a tune does not make you best informed or smart for that matter. And that's exactly what we have in J-Z and Byonce, a couple of weird names if you ask me. They're totally not informed. And no all Cubans cheered their visit; believe me. They could care less for a couple of millionares who have made millinois simply by singing and dancing. They have not contributed anything of substance to this country. So, let them continue to sing and dance; who cares what they do.

    April 14, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. GetReal

    Wow, this is still newsworthy?

    April 14, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. Rod Lillo

    The actual hypocrites are his own constituents, the Cubans who set foot in the U.S. claiming political persecution, they are given everything and anything as benefits; and once they obtain their residence they travel back to Cuba and take the dollars he is claiming we shouldn't take. When are they going to cut the Cuban Adjustment Act, is a joke....

    April 14, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. svann

    So what? We allow our UN dollars to support NK. Cuba isnt 1/10 as dangerous as NK.

    April 14, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
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