[Marxism] Trip to Cuba by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Is Investigated

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 9 08:20:19 MDT 2013

NY Times April 8, 2013
Trip to Cuba by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Is Investigated

MEXICO CITY — The United States Treasury Department has begun 
investigating whether Jay-Z and Beyoncé — music’s royal couple — 
violated the trade embargo against Cuba by traveling to the island two 
weeks ago during their wedding anniversary, according to officials and a 
person who helped arrange their visit.

In a sudden predictable controversy that proves the embers of conflict 
between Miami and Havana are never far from becoming flames, Treasury 
officials on Monday said they were working on a response to demands for 
more information about the trip from two Cuban-American lawmakers from 
South Florida — Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario 
Diaz-Balart, both Republicans, who appear to be using the highly 
photographed visit to rekindle outrage about Americans going to Cuba for 

“Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled,” Ms. Ros-Lehtinen 
and Mr. Diaz-Balart wrote in a letter to the Treasury Department on 
Friday, “therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund 
the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people.”

Questions about the megastars’ trip have been swirling for days, with 
some Cuban exile bloggers describing the trip as a propaganda mission 
“carefully planned and controlled by the Castro dictatorship.” But 
witnesses in Cuba and a person affiliated with the company that arranged 
the trip, Academic Arrangements Abroad, contend that the visit was a 
surprise to Cuban leaders, who struggled to provide adequate security 
with just a day’s notice.

The three-night sojourn, according to the person who helped plan it, 
came together without input from the Cuban government like other visits 
for Americans under a “people to people” license — granted by the 
Treasury Department for trips that focus on “educational exchange 
activities that will result in meaningful interaction” between Americans 
and Cubans.

About 10,000 Americans go to Cuba each year with such tours, and the 
Treasury Department tightened the rules for trip agendas last year after 
Senator Marco Rubio, another Cuban-American Republican from Florida, 
criticized the tours for allowing tourism, which is banned by the embargo.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé visited the children’s theater group La Colmenita, 
where Beyoncé danced with little girls dressed as bumblebees, and met 
with students and teachers at the Superior Art Institute. Photographs 
also showed Jay-Z enjoying a Cuban cigar on the balcony of their 
government-owned hotel, the Saratoga, but the trip also included 
personal and intimate exchanges. The restaurants where Cubans saw the 
stars eating were privately owned “paladars.” Their public cultural 
outings occurred with an emphasis on interaction with everyday Cubans, 
not officials.

Miguel Iglesias, the director of the Cuban Contemporary Dance Company, 
said Beyoncé also went to the company on Friday morning to watch an 
informal performance. She arrived with her family (her mother was part 
of the tour group), and half-danced during the show before jumping up at 
the end with applause, saying the performance was “amazing.” He said she 
then talked to the choreographer and to him about the score and the 
choreography, because it is a piece that was written and choreographed 
by the company.

Asked if he thought it was an interesting exchange, Mr. Iglesias said it 
was. “If to come here and share ideas and emotions isn’t a legitimate 
exchange between peoples, I don’t what is,” he said.

He added: “There are those who think that any connection between Cuba 
and the United States is illegitimate because they disagree with the 
system. I don’t see it like that at all.”

Karla Zabludovsky contributed reporting.

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