April 5, 2013 | 9:50 pm | Print
Above: US Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Two United States lawmakers are expressing “concern” over a trip to Cuba this week by music stars Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles-Carter.
The two reportedly traveled to Cuba to mark their fifth wedding anniversary.
Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart have written a letter to Adam Szubin, director of the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control, seeking information on the type of licence the pair of stars received for their travel to Cuba.
US citizens are permitted to travel to Cuba only under certain licences, such as people-to-people travel or educational endeavours.
“We would like to respectfully request, within all applicable rules and guidelines, information regarding the type of licence that Beyoncé and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel,” the lawmakers wrote.
“If these individuals were given people-to-people licenses, we would like to bring to your attention the Cuba Travel Advisory issued by OFAC on July 25, 2011 which states, ‘OFAC only licenses People-to-People Groups that certify that all participants will have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba,’” they wrote.
Both Members of Congress have been longtime critics of Cuba’s government.
The two said that, because Cuba’s tourism industry is “wholly state-owned,” “US dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people.”