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. DrJStrangepork

    Perhaps, Mr. Rubio should go to Cuba and do this ground work he expects Jay-Z and Beyonce to have done. I don't expect celebrities to do this stuff, nor would I expect them to have the proper faculties to. I expect elected officials to do stuff like this. In the Case of Cuba, I would expect elected officials with strong ties to Cuba to do this.

    April 14, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. ja

    Rubio need to stick his head back in the SAND, 85% of the GOP is about hypocrisy, what is his take gun laws, abortion, people stood in line in Florida for twelve hours to vote, Rubio is another Palin

    April 14, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  3. freedom

    Every penny they spent there went straight to the corrupt government and regime that harms its own people and Americans. What kind of a vacation is that? – and sanctioned by the White House no less. What the hell agenda is this??

    April 14, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Shut up Rubio the gutless anchor baby ,one term and out !!!!

    April 14, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. Doc

    Jay-Z and bouncey went to Cuba searching for the jobs the Republicans promised the U.S. people in 2010. Maybe Rubio and the boys should work on that before criticizing Americans travelling freely as they should be able to do.

    April 14, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. Boisepoet

    The hypocrisy is the Cuban ex-patriates in America, who tend to vote Republican, who send cash to family members in Cuba which is one of the primary sources of hard currency Rubio notes. The hypocrisy is the Republicans calling for the continued isoloation of communist Cuba, while embracing the off-shoring of our economy to communist China.

    April 14, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. Off Topic

    I've seen a couple of these articles referring to "Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce". It may be harmless in this particular instance, but I think, as a culture, we have a tendency to relegate women to simple or secondary roles. Not once in covering this story have I heard Jay-Z referred to as Beyonce's husband. Beyonce is every bit a mega-star as Jay-Z, if not more so. Clearly there is more to focus on in this article, but I think word choice is important as it sends signals about our culture to other parts of the world and to younger generations. An alternative is: Jay-Z and Beyonce, the husband and wife rap/pop team, were...".

    April 14, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. Jordan

    Would sr. Rubio be happier if they should spend their time in Honduras, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia or some other democratic paradise that our country "approves" of?

    April 14, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. Mr Rogers

    The letter of the law simply states us citizens are not allowed to spend us currency in Cuba. It is easy to exchange us currency for another countries currency, or purchase an all inclusive deal, and depart from that country to visit Cuba. They are a warm, friendly people. It is unfortunate these two countries are at odds, not their people.

    April 14, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  10. Skipper Sam

    Hey Rubio

    Does your district represent any Black Cubans ?

    How is the whole Cuban Miami freedom fighter thing working ?

    Ps its been 50 years

    Why don't you try looking out for All the citizens of Florida for a change instead of just the Anglo upper class white cowards who fled Cuba rather than fight ?

    April 14, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  11. HighTimin

    I thought they were on Vacation? Why see political prisioners. What happened to free will

    April 14, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  12. John john the pipers son

    poor poor rubio, its time to give up the anger and find a positive way to move forward you lost sheep. America is NOT obsessed with Cuba in the same way people like you are, Grow up kido!

    April 14, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. Bill Clay

    Didn't Che Guevara die 50 years ago? How did Jay-Z "prop up" a man who's long dead and buried? These radical right-wing Cuban law makers are obsessed with a country that they lost half a century ago.

    April 14, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. leemac443

    your dvd player can travel to Cuba but you can't- how stupid is that?

    April 14, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. Miami-Dade Anglo

    Rubio is just pandering to Cubans over age 60 living on US welfare in Miami. The rest of the country just doesn't care who goes where. Cuban Republicans are a dying sub population group. In about 10 years they'll all be gone, but it won't be to Havana.

    April 14, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. amy077

    What a crap! Rubio is full of it! Cuba is no treat to anyone and I hope that the rediculous embargo that doesn't work would be lifted as soon as possible, so people can travel to that country for educational and cultural exchanges and to bring a change to this country. If Rubio and the so called "Miami dissidents" really want a change in Cuba, they should eliminate that wet foot dry foot policy where illegal Cubans are coming to US and get green cards after 1 year and citizenship after 3 years without even speaking English!!!!!! We have relationships with the communist China, and I don't see we can't have good relationships with Cuba. The only one who is suffering there is not the Castro brothers, but the Cuban people. Opening borders, lifting embargo and letting Cubans decide whether they want capitalism or communism should be the right thing to do that Rubio should support if he really loves his country (Cuba I mean).

    April 14, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. Tom

    Takes one to know one.

    April 14, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. 4Him

    Rubio speaks as a typical Cuban in America Americans are not allowed to travel to Cuba but every other country in the world does. We have made no impact with our embargo. We have just inconvenienced Castro because we are their closest neighbor. Communist are no threat to the USA. China and Vietnam are not banned to Americans but Cuba is, that is just stupid. As for political prisoners does Mr Rubionignore those in China and Vietnam and Saudia Arabia?

    April 14, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  19. amy077

    The American people want normal relationships with Cuba that promotes freedom, cultural exchance and educational exchange! No one cares what the so called radicals a.k.a. "Miami dissidents" with Rubio as their super star think! The embargo must be eliminated because it doesn't work and the only side who suffers are Cuban people and not the Castro brothers! The idiotis "wet foot dry foot" plicy which allows Cubans to cme to US illegally and be given citizenship after 3 years should be eliminated pronto or the Jackson hospital will go bancrupt! These people don't even speak English when they get their citizenship!!!!! We trade with China, Russia and other abusers of human rights,and I don't see the reasn why we should not normalize relationships with Cuba. If Cubans want to change their system, they can do it by themselves just like the brave East Europeans did!!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  20. JJ

    Country to Rubio: Nobody cares what you think about their trip. End of story.

    April 14, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  21. Justician

    The prez hooked up his peeps with some time in the cuba crib for their honey moon. Anybody actually believe the president didn't sign off on or know about this? Unbelievable crony politics. A trip that's illegal for anyone else. Well at least the prez is finally fulfilling his transparency pledge. So we don't need guns to protect our families while the president and Joe "double barrel" biden get 24 hour armed ninja protection and the prez and his boyz club get to take trips that are illegal for the rest of us? Golf anyone?

    April 14, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  22. NR

    Really Marco Rubio? Don't you think there are more important problems to solve in this country than critizicing celebrities for where they choose to celebrate their anniversary? If you are so concerned about racism and oppression, why not focus on all other countries with a racist past throughout Europe, Asia, and in our own country? I believe you are the one who needs to inform yourself before speaking in public.

    April 14, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  23. Mike

    Umm.. the man is on VACATION with his wife for HIS anniversary? Why should he bother himself with all the gritty details of who is racist and who is not on his side and who is going hungry? It is NONE of his business? Do you , Dear ol Savior Saint Rubio, go to slums in DC to 'hear the voices of the poor" hmm.. Padre Rubio, I guess not, you may simply sit on your laptop and write opinion articles to deliver to CNN. Let the man be, all fingers are not equal, he once was poor and now can enjoy some time LET THE MAN BE, he is not a UN Ambassador for world hunger and peace on tour.

    April 14, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. Sroz

    Educate me, please. Name some people and countries that are not racist.

    April 14, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. Anthony

    This is huge farce. All they're doing is taking our attention away from the real issue...North Korea. If you have a problem with American stars going to Cuba, then why didn't you have a problem with Rodman going to the next country we're about to bomb? Meanwhile every piece of news is about North Korea is propaganda rehashed from the war in Iraq. USA stop using the news to validate imperialism and war mongering and thinking we're all stupid enough to believe it...it's gotten kind of old.

    April 14, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
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