"Jay-Z, Beyoncé Bill" Aiming to Restrict Travel to Cuba, "Playing to Audience in Miami"

Categories: News

Via NBC Nightly News Tumblr

Rocking "guayabera shirts and bandanas," Jay-Z may have "turned Havana to Atlanta" momentarily this past May when he and Beyoncé visited Cuba.

But if Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee get their way, the couple's first Treasury Department-approved cultural exchange trip to the Caribbean island may have also been their last.

A subcommittee chaired by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) approved a 142-page bill yesterday that would, among other things, make it even more difficult for Americans to legally visit Cuba.

See also:
-Obama on Jay-Z, Beyonce, Cuba: "White House Not Involved, We've Got Better Things to Do"

"[The trip] was an example of how the guidelines are not being enforced," Crenshaw said. "I think that if we're going to say that we have this policy in place that relates to travel in Cuba that it ought to be enforced, and that becomes a gray area where they're probably not really following the guidelines."

In Miami, the couple's short visit to Cuba triggered outrage. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the trip was nothing more than a "wedding anniversary vacation not even disguised as a cultural program," while Sen. Marco Rubio accused the Carters of "funding the regime's systematic trampling of people's human rights."

But not everyone agrees.

House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) opposes the new bill, derisively dubbing it "the Jay-Z, Beyoncé Bill."

"Absolutely [it's a response to the trip], and it's playing to the audience in Miami," Serrano told Politico. "The mistake they made was being seen in public; by that, I mean they being who they are walking down the street. We may consider Cuba a closed society, but even if it is -- it's not closed enough so they don't know who Jay-Z and Beyoncé are."

As for Jay-Z, he thinks the controversy's silly.

"I'm in Cuba, I love Cubans/This communist talk is so confusing/When it's from China, the very mic that I'm using/Idiot wind, the Bob Dylan of rap music/You're an idiot, baby, you should become a student."

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(except it's not)

dantevida topcommenter

funny how people so concerned with the rights of Cubans in Cuba want to restrict Americans' freedom to travel.  And what about travel to China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and other human rights violating countries? give me a break


Actually this isn't about Beyonce and Jay-Z, although they should be honored by the enduring attention to their extraordinary visit.

It’s the same game as was tried last year to undo President Obama's opening of travel. The bitter-enders in the Cuban American community want to prevent people seeing for themselves and concluding that the embargo is total nonsense.

Members of the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees need to hear from constituents about how dumb this legislation is.

The President will presumably stop it if the Senate doesn't, as he did in 2012.

He should go further and provide a general license (no application needed) for all purposeful non-tourist travelers, just as he gave Cuban Americans. That way a greater diversity of Americans could make less expensive trips, staying in privately owned bed and breakfasts, using public transportation and rental cars, and organizing their own independent program.

John McAuliff

Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

you know Cubans arent the only ones living in miami. There are many hispanics that are not from that country that could give three fucks where these millionares spend their time and money. The only people bitching are Old Cubans who if they were as rich as Jayz & beyonce you know theyd be doing the same thing...

Elsa Jimenez
Elsa Jimenez

Smh. If you can afford to go party in Cuba do it

Samir Vasquez
Samir Vasquez

Well that's a step in the wrong direction...

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