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If Jay-Z and Beyonce can travel to Cuba, why can't we?

Jay-Z and Beyonce Cuban Trip Highlights US Travel Embargo

Recently, the reigning king and queen of hip hop, Jay-Z and Beyonce, have been heavily criticized for a trip to Cuba. While the Castro regime has touted it as “tourism”, the American government has tried to pass it off as more of a “cultural exchange”. While the Obama administration has loosened restrictions on travel to Cuba and travel to Cuba isn’t technically illegal, it is still illegal for Americans to spend money in the country.

Two members of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, have been pressing Congress for details of the trip and multiple accusations have been made that the power couple traveled to Cuba illegally. When asked why, here was their response:

Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda. We represent a community of many who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of murdered innocents.

To begin with, who cares if they went to Cuba illegally? Even though their trip was legal, I don’t see what difference it would make if they went illegally. The trade embargo against Cuba has been around for over fifty years and is an archaic and useless law. Sure, Cuba and America haven’t been on the greatest terms over the years but, I still don’t think that should matter. You don’t travel to a country for their politics, you travel for the people, culture, and overall experience. For example, do I agree with Ireland’s policies regarding abortion (or the lack of a woman’s right to an abortion? No, I think that the law is archaic and ridiculous. However, I would still love to travel there someday.

Another example would be Americans who travel to North Korea. PersonallyI find it ridiculous that travel to North Korea is legal, yet, travel to Cuba is not. Last time I checked, Cuba isn’t trying to blow us off the map.

What most people don’t understand is that there are countries where corruption is rampant at various levels of government and/or human rights violations occur, yet people still travel to them anyway. For example, how many people have gone to Mexico for spring break or for a family vacation? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful country, I went there for a family vacation when I was nine years old. However, the Human Rights Watch has mentioned the following effects of the drug war against the Mexican drug cartels, as well as other organized crime groups: torture, extrajudicial killings, and random “disappearances.” There is also a lot of violence there on both ends of the spectrum (the cartels and the government), yet, many Americans still go there for frequent vacations. While I would imagine that plenty of them don’t, are we really naive enough to think that plenty of Americans in their prime college years aren’t down there buying drugs, partying, and, in turn, supporting these cartels, whether they realize it or not? To me, that is far worse than traveling to Cuba.

Case in point? Leave Jay-Z and Beyonce alone! It’s not the government’s place to tell Americans where they are and are not allowed to travel. From what I have heard, the country is absolutely beautiful and, from their pictures, it looked like they had a lovely vacation.

About Kate Derringer Barclay

Kate Derringer Barclay is the pseudonym of a freelance writer and blogger. Kate Derringer Barclay is also working on her first book.

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One comment

  1. I am from vancouver,canada and i wanted to say that Beyonce is well known around the world. She was in Cuba recently and she should be condemning the U.S.Blockade of Cuba.Danny Glover is well known and he is doing the right thing in condemning the U.S. in the way it is treating Cuba.Beyonce should do the same.