Beyonce, Jay Z Cuba trip sparks controversy

U.S. singer Beyonce (L) and her husband rapper Jay-Z walk as they leave their hotel in Havana April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa
U.S. singer Beyonce (L) and her husband rapper Jay-Z walk as they leave their hotel in Havana April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

Two Republican members of Congress have asked the U.S. Treasury Department for information on what type of license American pop star Beyonce and rapper husband Jay Z obtained for a high-profile trip to Cuba to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Beyonce and Jay Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary this week in Havana, where big crowds greeted them as they strolled hand in hand through the Cuban capital.

They ate at some of the city’s best restaurants, danced to Cuban music, walked through historic Old Havana and posed for pictures with admiring Cubans, who recognized them despite the past half-century of ideological conflict that separates the United States and Cuba.

In a letter dated on Friday, U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, asked Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, for “information regarding the type of license that Beyonce and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel.”

Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart represent districts in south Florida where there is a high Cuban-American population.

“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,” the letter said.

“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.”

Representatives for Beyonce did not immediately respond for comment on Saturday.

The long-standing U.S. trade embargo against Cuba prevents most Americans from traveling to the island without a license granted by the U.S. government, although President Barack Obama’s administration has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba for academic, religious or cultural exchanges.

In Washington this week, the State Department said it had no prior knowledge of the visit. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana said she did not know if the celebrity couple obtained a license for their trip. If they did not, they could be exposed to a fine.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…

Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Going Out

Get down and dirty at these neighborhood dives

Philly's got its share of innovative gastropubs and seen-and-be-seen drinking establishments with inventive cocktails served in mason jars. But sometimes we just want a shot…

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.

Home

3 easy DIY updates for your home

While you're deep into spring cleaning, why not make a few tweaks to give your home a fresh decorative twist? Don't worry, we're not talking…

Food

Martha Stewart's tips for a perfect Easter

Even if your dinner isn't as perfect as hers, you can use her advice.