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. JL

    Funny how people forget that if it wasn't for Caucasians (which is the politically correct term to be used for describing white Europeans), the entire world would still be worshiping sticks, eating bugs and dying from exposure by the age of 30. That is worth so much more respect than the majority of people realize, their own race beside the point: it's factual history versus a boastful, totally self absorbed and blinded popular opinion of people like Marco here, who don't get that some races are better than others, no matter what he thinks or wants other people to think. End of story.

    April 14, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. TK

    if rubio criticized wal mart, apple, ge and most of corporate america for doing business with china and other nations with less than stellar human rights record i would probably find no fault with his comment but he would not dare criticize those companies since he depends on them or more factually they have bought him and his vote in the senate

    April 14, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. HZ

    Hmm. I wonder how he knows who they saw on their trip? Was he in the hotel with them 24/7? I doubt it.

    April 14, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  4. TM

    Calm down now. This statement: Jay Z is a capitalist. he supports Obama and supports Cuba, that is a hypocrite...begs for another real world history lesson. Capitalists backed the Shah of Iran, numerous war lords in Vietnam, as well as the dictator of Cuba, Fulgencio Batista. (Read "A Nation of Sheep). The Cold War had us backing numerous bad guys because they were not Communist bad guys. We got caught in number of those episodes, one of them was in Afghanistan where the "good guys" didn't stay good. They used us to arm their war against US capitalism. The world is just not a nice tidy place to live. Rubio isn't entirely wrong, and it seems Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé may be naive. But, does Cuba want to return to the !% Batista era. Check the papers recently of how much poverty is in the US and of the many falsely imprisoned minorities that have been released the last few years in the US. How did that happen? I guess just bad justice for those that lack "influence."

    April 14, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  5. TK

    Che Guevara was a racist...........he probably was in in his younger days but over time his views changed which is why he fought against apartheid and also denounced racism and speaking of racism why isn't rubio calling out members of his own party for racism?

    April 14, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  6. HZ

    Someone wrote: "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."

    FALSE. Who's fault is it if your kids believe people of all colors are more important if their entertainers? Look in the mirror and stop whining. It's nobody's fault but yours if your kids don't look up to you.

    April 14, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. SavannahJen

    Rubio there are so many other things that you should be focusing on such as planning for the next presidential election. Stay focused on this country please.

    April 14, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  8. Joe

    Che was not a racist 300 years ago. He was a racist less than 50 years ago. Cuba has killed africans in their mercenary wars for the Soviet Union, propping up corrupt african states.

    Sorry left wing liberal/progressive/social communist Dush bags for mentioning that.

    April 14, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. WillB

    As one, if not the biggest, hypocrite of our time, Marco, is just providing an expert opinion.

    April 14, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  10. G. Teslovich

    I'll add to Rubio's hypocritical Cuban travel position by adding how conveniently he looks the other way with regard to allowing travel to Saudi Arabia (where women can be executed for driving a car); Myanmar and Syria where military executions of freedom advocates are the "soup du jour" and into North Korea (and we know what they're like). I could easily add another half dozen countries that abuse human rights to such an extent that Cuba looks like a domesticated kitty. By the way, isn't it Cuba that sends more medical personnel into the impoverished areas of the Americas than the US?

    April 14, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. missingmick

    Hopefully, when they got back, she got rid of that gnarly looking rats nest on top of her head.

    April 14, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. ED FL

    Who cares what this wimp Rubio has to say or do anything.He will keep running his mouth until some of the Miami Cubans get sick of him and the Real Rubio will become public,he will then have to answer or live with the real facts of the Rubio clan.

    April 14, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. No support

    Rubio talks racism? Rubio accuses people of propping up other people who are racist? I am still trying to let all this digest as my stomach turns. Rubio, the man who turns his back on many of "his people" for political gain, and who supports candidates who make racist remarks.. is mad at a rapper? Maybe he doesn't realize it yet, but his position and he decisions he makes far outweigh any that a rapper makes.. so I suggest he clean up his own backyard first.

    April 14, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  14. Linda

    Wow!Why do you care?NYOB who goes where and why.not your$

    April 14, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  15. AlphaPred

    Che' was not a racist! Remember that he fought in Africa. Congo!

    April 14, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. brian

    " Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé were bolstering an oppressive dictator when they traveled to Cuba for their anniversary, Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday."

    Is Rubio a comedian? Our support of dictator Batista is what lead to Castro's revolution in Cuba.

    April 14, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  17. mdb800

    Rubio is more dangerous to human liberty than anyone involved. Human beings are not tools to play around with. The Castro regime is repressive, that doesn't make him better because he wants to restrict Americans from exercising free movement and travel. He wants to take a bite out of tyrranny, he really is obligated to kill himself. I don't like the Castor regime either, but any leader that wants to harm human dignity simply because another leader somewhere else is doing the same deserves death. Rubio is a monster and has the same mentality as Castro. If he wants to have a pissing contest he can either die or keep his citizens out of the way. Any leader or government official that has ever taken any action to punish Americans for traveling needs to be punished. This is important; If we cannot make an example out of them ,our society will give birth to tyrannical politicians who will disregard human dignity even further.

    I know few will agree but, the truth is Rubio wants to fight Castor by acting like Castro and for there to be real justice, people like him need to be punished for our own protection. They hate our freedom of movement, ask yourselves this : If we allow this behaviour to go unpunished in our leadership, what will they do next? Start killing people who are ill? drowning puppies. This man is a whackjob....someone do something please

    April 14, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  18. DaveinCincy

    All the comments on here are cynical snides toward Rubio, with no actual thought into what he said. Welcome to the 21st century liberal mentality. Inability to provide a thought provoking counter response results in name calling......

    April 14, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. Diane

    The Repubs are using this as a distraction from doing the work we pay them to do. To bad it's not working. Sensible people see it for what it was.....nothing.

    April 14, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  20. midgick

    Yes, I agree that out travel restrictions concerning Cuba are stupid and archaic. that being said, Jay Z and teh B acted arrogant and stupid. They feed into the Cuban PR BS. All we saw JZ SMOKING CUBAN CIGARS AND DRING CUBAN DRINK SPENDING US DOLLARS. DID THEY GO VISIT THE CUBAN RAP SINGER IN CIBAN JAIL. HELL NO. all they cared about was their own pleasures. Great American examples for the orld to see. Jerks.

    April 14, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. DocHollywood

    How ignorant is this Rubio guy? He's critical of this trip because it "supports the suppressive regime of Castro"? So then Mr. Rubio supports boycotting China? Who do you think "suppresses" more humans? Cuba or China? We need to get rid of the embargo. Flood Cuba with American products and culture. How long do you think the Cuban government will last once it's people sees what freedom can bring? But no, we strive to keep going on a policy that has not produced results (regime change) in the last 50 years. Perhaps Mr. Rubio thinks somehow it will magically work in the next 50.

    April 14, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  22. Doug

    Mr. Rubio, Let's finally get beyond the age old "Cuba is the bad guy" era. The Soviet Union is Dead, we have relations with Russia and China so why not....Cuba? Yes, Che Guevara was in his early twenties a racist. But, Mr. Rubio as one grows people tend to change; for Che, he changed tremendously He went so far as to fight with an all black army; as well as pushing for racially integrated schools in Cuba, years before they were racially integrated here in America. In the words of Che Guevara Mr. Rubio,
    "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?"

    April 14, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé are the hipsters of today , not my thing .
    They can go where they like , and it's not my business .

    As for Marco Rubio , he needs to grow up , get a real job , and stop playing the Miami Cuban Victim .
    I have one question for Marco Rubio . Why is it that Israel can do business with Cuba and America can not ?
    Cuba is a holiday destination for most of Europe and south America. Yet we Americans are not allowed to travel there because of the out dated special interest such as Rubio and the Miami Cuban cartel.

    April 14, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. Peg

    Maybe they just wanted to celebrate their anniversary someplace they didn't have to worry about getting shot at.

    April 14, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  25. joelfoss

    I'll tell you what's hypocritical: the people like Rubio who treat traveling to Cuba like treason; but who would themselves travel to China anytime! What's the difference?

    April 14, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
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