Jay-Z and Beyoncé Visit Cuba, Why Can’t We All Go?

big pimpinBarackObama.comJay-Z and Beyoncé visited Cuba for their fifth wedding anniversary last week, reportedly on a license from the Treasury Department. It shouldn’t be surprising that the politically-connected entertainment business couple was able to secure a way to visit the communist country, which is subject to a decades-long trade and travel embargo by the United States. President Obama loosened the embargo on Cuba, but travel remains restricted to highly regulated cultural trips. If you wanted to go on a honeymoon or anniversary to Havana, you’d have to travel through a third country. The trip to Cuba is costly and difficult to make legally. Why? Cuba no longer has missiles pointed at the United States. Americans lost property to the Cuban government after the 1959 communist revolution, the nominal reason the embargo was imposed. Yet the U.S. remains an active trading partner of the communist regime in China.

Nevertheless, Republican lawmakers from Florida are upset. In a letter to the Treasury Department, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart called the restrictions on tourism to Cuba “commonsense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn.” I forgot the part where Cuba is threatening to lob missiles at the United States, or where money spent by Americans abroad ought to be subject to government approval.

Senator Marco Rubio wants the Obama administration to explain why Jay-Z and Beyoncé were allowed to visit Cuba. The more important question is why aren’t we?

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  • Enough About Palin||

    "big pimpin"

    Pretty fucking racist.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    In case anybody forgot the epic music video. NSFW!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    He's got 99 Problems but gettin' into Cuba ain't one.

  • ||

    The expurgated version of that song is a crime against humanity.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Agreed. Specifically searched Youtube "Big Pimpin Explicit" and linked to this. Too bad I didn't listen to the whole thing before linking. I prefer cussing in my music.

  • ||

    Hear hear!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, seems like you can just hop on a sailboat and go there if you want. Some family from here just did that.

  • some guy||

    The issue isn't what happens if you go there without official approval. The issue is what happens when you come back.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, these people haven't tried to come back yet, so I'm not sure how that would work.

  • some guy||

    It would be interesting if they got in more trouble for visiting Cuba without approval than for (allegedly) kidnapping two children.

  • db||

    Dude. You can't just do that without serious diplomatic assistance.

  • Andrew S.||

    There are many good things about living in South Florida. However, the politicians here make me want to scream.

    Mario Diaz-Balart is my congressional representative. I guess it could be worse though; if I lived a mile or so north of where I live now, my congressional representative would be Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

  • tarran||

    Thank your lucky stars. Apparently, all the evil things Ed Markey has done has been on my behalf.

  • some guy||

    If we are all responsible for the behavior of our own representatives then we all deserve what they are doing to us.

  • ||

    I have Sheila Jackson-Lee, be thankful.

  • Andrew S.||

    Fun tip:

    If you want to go to Cuba without the feds finding out and possibly hitting you with a $7500+ fine, before you make your way to Mexico or Canada to grab a flight to Havana, go to Key West and get one of those souvenir Conch Republic passports. Apparently they've been accepted for entry by the Cuban authorities.

  • ||

    On the Conch Republic website, their Passport FAQ section describes how this passport saved the life of an American in Nicaragua who used it to claim that he was not American to armed revolutionaries threatening do kill him.

    "Republica de Conch! No soy Americano! Es la verdad!"

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Fuck you, that's why.

    I'm amazed that there are so many people who don't get this yet. I guess it presents some hope, because I always assumed everybody already knew about this and was OK with it. Maybe they aren't.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Not especially hard to get to Cuba if you're a celebrity looking to fellate totalitarianism. See: Tom Morello and whatever shit band he's in at the moment, Michael Moore, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Depp, Hunter Thompson, Sean Penn, et al.

  • Tonio||

    You just lost all credibility when you accused Hunter S. Thompson of fellating authority. Maybe you'd be happier over at HuffPo?

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Maybe you should try actually familiarizing yourself with Thompson, then.

    The man had a perpetual boner for the Cuban "Revolution" and all it represented and spread. He fucking worshipped Che Guevara and never made any secret of it.

    Should you ever decide to bother to actually do your fucking homework, I reccomend you buy a copy of "The Great Shark Hunt" and read the article from when he visited Cuba with Johnny Depp.
    It's a predictable story; Lefty goes to Cuba expecting to find paradise, Lefty enters cognitive dissonance/depression when faced with the impoverished dictatorship reality, Lefty doublethinks it away by pinning the blame on the embargo.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Unless, of course, you mean to tell me you're just one of the many people whose sole exposure to Thompson has been the "Fear & Loathing" movie.

  • entropy||

    So, how are Florida pols making money off of the Cuban embargo? Let's not pretend like anything politicians do is principled. Got to be some kind of smuggling operation.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's a substantial number of Cuban expats and descendents of Cuban expats who hate the Castro regime. They're all citizens and vote.

  • Almanian!||

    I believe many of them also support snake farming - hence the explosion of constrictors in FL.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, that's where they go horrifically wrong.

  • Tonio||

    ^This. The South Florida Cubans (expats) are a force to be reckoned with, politically.

    These people are responsible for the ongoing cuban embargo.

    Not that I'd vacation there while the Castro regime is still in power, but I don't think one should be prohibited from doing so.

  • Calidissident||

    I don't really see why Cuban expats think the embargo and travel ban is an effective way of bringing down the regime. Half a century of history proves otherwise

  • some guy||

    It's just how they stay in office. Florida's Cuban population hates the Castro regime and will vote accordingly. Any politician who isn't on board has no chance of winning.

  • CE||

    Florida officials should be pro-Cuban tourism. Most of the trips would leave from Florida.

  • Almanian!||

    I wanna go to Cuba for vacation. Sometime. After the Castros are out of power. And the US normalizes relations.

    Still waiting...

  • some guy||

    Maybe you'll be able to do it vicariously through your grand-kids.

  • Aresen||

    I think the embargo has helped keep the Castros in power. It gives them a convenient scapegoat for their problems.

  • ||

    Exactly. Normalize relations and employ the "Blue jeans and Coca-cola" strategy.

  • Esteban||

    I don't think that's necessarily true, and not while the Soviet Union was around. Even now the Castro government has survived because of Venezuelan oil. I think it's possible that Cuban may have started to pursue a China style economic policy, I don't think it's very likely the Castros would have lost their grip on power. Almost 3MM tourists visited Cuba in 2011 to little effect on the government.

  • Esteban||

    Although I'm also not arguing the embargo is a good idea or we should continue it. I just don't think it's had as much of a role in helping the Castros stay in power as some critics assert.

  • Ice Nine||

    get one of those souvenir Conch Republic passports. Apparently they've been accepted for entry by the Cuban authorities.

    Completely unnecessary. Take your US passport. The Cubans understand the problem. They issue Americans a looseleaf visa on arrival at the airport and stamp it; same thing going out. They won't put anything incriminating in your passport. Trust me, I know.

  • thom||

    Based on the stories told by my few (very liberal) friends who have gone to Cuba, I think the travel ban is probably counterproductive.

    Nothing disillusioned my friends more about Cuba than actually going there. Apparently having to pass through a military checkpoint every ten or fifteen miles is a lot more real when you actually experience it in person.

  • Tonio||

    Also, US Citizens born in Cuba* are allowed to legally visit Cuba and can actually bring back Cigars, etc. And the Cuban Expat community doesn't object to this. So, double standard.

    (*)Their descendants, too, IIRC.

  • Esteban||

    AFAIK (my mom is a Cuban exile), that only holds true if you have family there still. My mom's family either died in Cuba (my grandfather in jail) or fled the country so I don't think I could go as the Cubans that still have family there. My relatives who have been have gone on 'cultural' trips

  • Tonio||

    Also, it's not like Cuba is starving for lack of US tourist dollars. Canadians are allowed to travel freely to Cuba, quite a number of them do so for vacations. I've heard that many of them like Cuba since it's American-Free.

    American=US Citizen in this usage.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, it is a pretty big deal. The U.S. has a huge population compared to Canada, and Cuba is a quick jaunt from here.

  • Tonio||

    Yes, we have a much larger population than Canada. But according to teh Wikipedia 945,000 Canadians visit Cuba every year. IOW, as many Canadian tourists as tourists from all other countries combined.

    Cuba is a quick jaunt from some parts of the US, but it's a shorter flight to Cuba from SE Canada than from NW US.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's shit for tourism. Sea World in Orlando, for instance, gets millions of visitors a year. The number of visitors to Disney World, of course, is probably comparable to the entire population of Canada.

    If the boycott were lifted--and, better yet, Cuba became a liberal state--the number of American visitors alone would be likely be in the ten million or more range.

  • CE||

    Let's hope Cuba doesn't become a liberal state. California's not doing so well.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I meant the old kind of liberal and the other kind of state.

  • Finchster||

    Yeah, I get Canadian radio and their stations give away fun-in-the-sun winter trips to Cuba all the time. Don't quite see the attraction, seeing as how the rest of the Caribbean is tyranny-free.

  • Aresen||

    CHEAP.

    Canadians are into cheap.

  • Tonio||

    Nothing wrong with saving a buck. And Cuba may be a tyranny, but other Caribbean destinations (Jamaica) also have loathsome political regimes.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's a Scottish thing, writ large.

  • Aresen||

    One good reason NOT to visit Cuba.

    I really, really detest the "We're not American" types. It makes me want to cringe when I hear Canadians say it and those who go to Cuba are especially prone to this.

    Yes, I am Canadian and I like my country, but I like my neighbours too. Putting down the neighbours to make yourself feel better is really douchey.

    (This is not to say that I won't banter insults with my American friends, but that is just joking around and goes both ways.)

  • Tonio||

    That's OK, Aresen, we'll need people like you when we invade. /kidding

  • CE||

    Invade again, you mean.

  • Aresen||

    They burned York (Toronto), we burned Washington.

    Not sure who won on that round.

    Maybe we should do it again.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Please do. And we'll burn Ottawa this time, to keep things fair.

  • Mickey Rat||

    You also burned Buffalo.

    Though now one of the famous battles of that theatre of war is better known for the Canadian Ballet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, all kidding aside, we're absurdly close and, really, similar in most respects. It's not entirely a joke when Americans say they'll just tell terrorists that they're Canadian. Because most people from anywhere else can't tell the difference.

    Canada is our bestest, specialist friend.

  • Aresen||

    But you'd prefer it if we left bigger tips. :P

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, yes, that is the major complaint here in Florida. We could use more Canadian money.

  • Tonio||

    Should have phrased that as "not like Cuba is starving for lack of foreign tourist dollars".

  • CE||

    No, they're starving because they're not free.

  • Ice Nine||

    Cuba is crawling with Canadian, European and South American tourists. They are also the ones doing all of the development of the tourist industry infrastructure. The stupid Americans have completely missed the boat on that. Almost no one in Cuba gives a rat's ass about Fidel. You rarely see his photo anywhere. Cubans want *flat screens, DVDs and iPhones*. We could have owned the place by now if we had dumped the stupid embargo a couple decades ago like we should have.

  • Xlotl||

    Some animals are more equal than others. Duh.

  • mayajan67||

    my classmate's mother makes $86 an hour on the computer. She has been without work for seven months but last month her pay was $13679 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more
    HTTP://BIG76.COM

  • CE||

    You do realize that 13679 at 86 an hour is 159 hours, which is the same as a full time job.

  • ||

    Do you always believe everything your friends at school tell you?

  • mayajan67||

    If you think Evelyn`s story is unimaginable,, 5 weaks-ago my moms best friend basically also actually earnt $7683 putting in fourteen hours a week in their apartment and their classmate's mother`s neighbour was doing this for seven months and easily made more than $7683 part-time On there laptop. apply the instructions at this website...
    HTTP://BIG76.COM

  • Aresen||

    Maybe your mom should move to Cuba.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's this "5 weaks-ago" business? What's a weak-ago? Some kind of Cub Scout?

  • Not a Libertarian||

    Disregarding the policy question of what the US should do for its own interests and the interest of the American citizenry.

    If the United States were to normalize trade relations with Cuba, do you think that facts would in reality undermine that regime?

    That does not seem to have been the outcome with Vietnam or certainly the PRC.

  • Esteban||

    Agree. I think it may have caused Cuba to more attempt Chinese style economic policy (which is definitely an improvement) but I don't think the Castros would have been thrown out.

  • WomSom||

    Actually went to Cuba once on my sailboat (via the Bahamas) and it was quite beautiful. The people were amazing!

    www.SurfinPrivacy.tk

  • John C. Randolph||

    There is no constitutional authority for the US government to prohibit an American from going anywhere in the world that we damn well please. Go to Cuba if you want, and if they try to hassle you for it, sue the motherfuckers for violating your civil rights under color of authority. We are NOT their property.

    -jcr

  • abtbearings||

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