Jay-Z and Beyoncé in Cuba: Florida Representatives Want Answers From Obama!
In case you haven't heard, rapper/mogul/Brooklyn Nets owner Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé (the girl who sang at the Super Bowl, Grandma), decided that it was 1950 and went and took a vacation in Cuba last week.
And now Florida Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart Ileana Ros-Lehtinen want to know what's up with that.
Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen sent a letter to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control on Friday demanding to know how Jay-Z and Mrs. Z got a license to travel to Cuba, who approved the trip, and what purpose did it serve.
"Cuba's tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people," Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart said in the letter.
"Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple's trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda."
Americans citizens can travel to Cuba legally if they get themselves a "cultural exchange" license. Outside of that, travel to the island nation has been banned for 51 years due to the trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba.
Photos surfaced of the couple taking a stroll in Havana, swarmed by fans.
While Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen represent a huge swath of the Cuban population in Florida and their letter does carry some justification, the Guardian suggests that they sound a tad too accusatory toward the Obama administration:
Obama is friendly with Jay-Z, and Beyoncé sang (actually, lip-synched) at the president's second inauguration earlier this year.
The congressmembers' letter doesn't say it overtly, but there is an implicit accusatory tone to their complaint that suggests complicity between the Carters and the Obama administration.
All in all, bearing in mind the Rottweiler-like tenacity of the Cuban exile community, this wrangle has the potential to run for some time. It is unlikely, though, to be causing Mr and Mrs Carter much loss of sleep.
The worst that could befall them were they found to have broken the embargo is a fine, which for them would be as onerous as flinging a little loose change at a porter at the end of a particularly pleasant holiday.
All in all, it may not have been the wisest choice for Jay-Z and Beyoncé to choose Cuba as their vacation destination. And photos of Jay-Z wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt is pretty goddamned dumb.
But, you know, Scarface and stuff.
And sure, Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen need to do their job and rep their constituents and ask questions and raise the roof and get mad and shake their fists and write letters.
But just as Obama paying a female attorney general a compliment by saying she's good-looking, this has all the makings of people losing their shit over pretty much nothing and making loud, angry noises at the president.
Next time, Jay-Z and Beyoncé should consider the sandy beaches of Mexico!
Or maybe be more aware of the sensitivity of the situation in regards to Cuba and its exiles.
That, or maybe wear fake mustaches and glasses so that locals don't recognize them.