The trip of Jay-Z and Beyoncé has been a trending topic this week. To celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary, they decided to go to Havana to have a meal at La Guarida, where lots of celebrities have been. The Cubans were thrilled to get a closer look at these world-famous artists. In a 21 minute lasting home video you can see an enthusiastic mob screaming and following the two pop stars. For the Mexican TV, this visit has caused a revolution in Cuba. But in the USA the trip seems to be provocative for various reasons.
by Charlie Crooijmans
Two Cuban-American law makers, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Marco Rubio, wrote a letter to the Treasury Department, saying “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” (CNN).
They ought to have gotten permission from the Treasury Department. But they did get permission. The Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, said that the trip was licensed as an educational exchange (The New York Times).
Jay-Z replied to the critics in his Open Letter, in which he claims to be the ‘Bob Dylan of the rap’, because it is a protest song.
But the discussion continues. Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen wished that the couple showed some solidarity with the Cubans. Rubio notes that the regime is not only repressive but also racist.
Well, I won’t rap it, but I’ll say, I mean, first of all, I think Jay-Z needs to get informed,” Rubio said. “One of his heroes is Che Guevara. Che Guevara was a racist. Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African descent, so he should inform himself on the guy that he’s propping up.
“Secondly, I think if Jay-Z was truly interested in the true state of affairs in Cuba, he would have met people that are being oppressed, including a hip-hop artist in Cuba who is right now being oppressed and persecuted and is undergoing a hunger strike because of his political lyrics. And I think he missed an opportunity. But that’s Jay-Z’s issue. (The Guardian)
Mark Sawyer, Professor at UCLA, questions this on his blog with huge question marks and comes to the conclusion that Che Guevara wasn’t a racist.
If Ché and the revolution were guilty of anything, it was a series of sins more consistent with American conservative’s current thinking about race than not. The Revolution was by ideology more color blind than focused on fixing the problem of racial inequality.” (Huffington Post)
The American activist and talk radio host, Adam Kokesh, suspects that President Obama has given special permission to his friend Jay-Z to go to Cuba. Maybe Obama wants to strengthen the relation between Cuba and the USA or abolish the embargo. Instead Kokesh believes that the trip has been used to cover up the inconvenient story about the Hakken family’s escape to Cuba.
Probably more conspiracy theories will show up.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who just love Cuba, made their trip a trending topic which might lead to a serious debate on the embargo. One thing is for sure, the Cubans, the common people, were very happy to see their idols on their isolated island.