Opinion

Lawmakers not buying Treasury Department’s excuse for stars’ Cuban trip

Ros-Lehtinen
Photo Credit: Miami New Times

Cuban born U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wasn’t pleased with the response she received Tuesday from the Treasury Department explaining Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s fun-filled frolic in Cuba.

On Tuesday, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control responded to Ros-Lehtinen and U.S. Rep. Marion Diaz-Balart who sent a letter Friday asking for specific information on the type of license granted to the couple that allowed them to travel to Cuba.

OFAC said the trip was fully licensed as an “educational exchange trip” to encourage “meaningful interaction with the Cuban people,” ABC News reported.

Beyonce and Jay-Z in Cuba
Beyoncé and Jay-Z on an “educational exchange” trip to communist Cuba
Photo Credit: NBC Miami

“It is our understanding that the travelers in question traveled to Cuba pursuant to an educational exchange trip organized by a group authorized by OFAC to sponsor and organize programs to promote people-to-people contact in Cuba” said Alastair M. Fitzpayne, the Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, according to the article.

Politico elaborated on the response reporting Treasury Department officials said they “don’t request the identities of the travelers on the trip.”

Ros-Lehtinen didn’t buy the “educational exchange” excuse at all. “That was a wedding anniversary vacation that was not even disguised as a cultural program,” she said in a statement.

She further said:

If the tourist activities undertaken by Beyonce and Jay-Z in Cuba are classified as an educational exchange trip, then it is clear that the Obama Administration is not serious about denying the Castro regime an economic lifeline that US tourism will extend to it.

As more human rights activists engage in hunger strikes, I don’t think they will see any evidence of how this scam endeavor will help them become independent of the regime.

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