The ruckus that Cuban-American Republican Congress members Marco Rubio and Ileana Ros-Lethinen created over Afro-American superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s recent visit to Cuba, sheds some light on other issues that go beyond the hostilities from either side of the Strait of Florida.
The hugely popular couple, rapper Shawn Carter (stage name, Jay-Z) and pop singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter are known as Bejay.
They have been married for five years and decided to celebrate their anniversary in Cuba, taking advantage of the minor easing of the travel ban (which prohibits U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba without special permission) by the Obama administration, allowing for the approval of more "people to people" trips.
The Bejay’s were able to make their trip to the "forbidden island" accompanied by their mothers and a few family members and assistants. In order to do so, they were required to adhere to all the restrictions imposed by Washington for travel to Cuba. The group that organized the Bejay trip was required to submit a detailed itinerary to the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control before being awarded a license, required before the visit could proceed.
The laws and regulations of the blockade prohibit U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba, but under Bill Clinton’s government, visits were approved for certain categories of citizens, for religious, humanitarian or educational purposes, which was later ended by President George W. Bush. Barack Obama resumed the policy as part of the "people-to-people" campaign, the stated aim of which is for visitors to promote "democracy" amongst the people of Cuba (a word which in Washington means capitalism).
Cuba has always accepted the challenge that the attacks on their national sovereignty represent because, in practice, they give Cubans the chance to debunk the lies spread about their country, over the last fifty years, by the U.S. government and media.
The gap between the anti-Cuba media campaign and the truth is so great that, generally, the first time visitors come to Cuba and see the reality, they start to understand the reasons behind the huge achievement that is the Cuban Revolution and the senselessness of the U.S. government’s hostility toward the island.
While the Bejays were spending their time in Havana with visits to the Advanced Art Institute, enjoying a performance by a famous children’s theater group and a dance show, as well as other cultural and educational activities, without visiting any of the multiple beaches and resorts enjoyed by millions of Cuban and foreign tourists, in the U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen were ensuring that much of the commentary from U.S. media was suggesting the lie that Beyoncé and Jay-Z had traveled illegally (without the necessary license) so as to provoke a scandal.
They were attempting to turn back Obama’s approach which has brought some limited relaxation of the Cuba travel ban, which U.S. citizens face, and, at the same time, depict Obama as a defender of the Cuban government, which of course he is not.
They were also suggesting that Obama was offering preferential treatment to Afro-Americans and, at the same time, strengthening anti-Cuba attitudes, accusing the Bejays, their friends and family members, mostly Black, of violating their country’s laws by traveling to the island.
Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen, have never lifted a finger to assist Latinos who live in the U.S., and much less, Afro-Americans. Being so supportive of capitalism, they rely on racism, sexism, and homophobia to divide the people and prevent them from joining forces against the unjust order of those who oppress them.