Hova In Havana: Controversy Arises over Jay-Z and Beyoncé Trip to Cuba

April 16, 2013

Recently, Jay-Z (also known as “Hova”) and his wife Beyoncé traveled to the island of Cuba. The trip has caused a whirlwind of controversy as some wonder why they were allowed to travel to the country. A trade embargo that has existed for decades proscribes travel to Cuba for tourism sans a special license. (For travel restrictions, see 22 USCA 7209 and 31 CFR 515.560).

Specifically, Senator Marco Rubio accused the Obama administration of not enforcing the tourism ban:

“U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime. Since their inception, the Obama Administration’s ‘people to people’ cultural exchange programs have been abused by tourists who have no interest in the Cuban people’s freedom and either don’t realize or don’t care that they’re essentially funding the regime’s systematic trampling of people’s human rights.”

Rubio is not alone in his disapproval. U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart submitted a letter to Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, for information pertaining to the travel license issued to Jay-Z and Beyoncé, why the license was approved, and by whom.

According to an anonymous source the trip was fully licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Criticism largely derives from the oppressive regime that was pervasive under Fidel Castro. Many Cubans currently residing in the United States were victims of the regime and vehemently oppose activity fueling the continuation of human rights abuses many still face.

Not surprisingly, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have declined comment.

They got 99 problems but a trip ain’t one.

For additional information on travel restrictions in Cuba check out the citing references to both citations or, try the following queries on WestlawNext:

adv: SY,DI(restrict! limit! prohibit! bar barring law statute regulat! /5 travel! touri! /s cuba) (6)
Search Type: Boolean T&C
Content: Overview
Jurisdiction: All Federal

adv: TI(restrict! limit! prohibit! bar barring law statute regulat! /5 travel! touri! /s cuba) (2)
Search Type: Boolean T&C
Content: Secondary Sources
Jurisdiction: All State & Federal