U.S. Reps Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republicans from Florida, which has a large Cuban-American population, have asked the U.S. Treasury Department for details.
In a letter to Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the representatives asked for “information regarding the type of license that Beyonce and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel.”
TheImproper last Thursday (Apr. 4) was one of the first sites to point out the political implications of the high profile trip. Nearly 1,000 comments were posted.
It was a public relations bonanza for the Castro regime, which has been an avowed enemy of the United States and has been under travel and trade restrictions for more than 50 years.
President Obama eased travel restrictions when he took office, but visas to the island nation are supposed to be limited to educational, religious, or cultural purposes. More than 400,000 U.S. citizens traveled to Cuba last year. Most were Cuban-Americans with relatives on the island.
But “tourists” like Beyonce and Jay-Z make up a growing number of visitors. Those who come from the Unites States face travel restrictions, but it’s possible to avoid limits by obtaining travel visas through a third country like Mexico or Canada.
On their high-profile trip, the rapper and pop singer were escorted by bodyguards and Cuban security around the capital of Havana. They showcased high-end restaurants and night life that most Cubans can’t afford.
The couple provoked outrage among Cuban-Americans because of the propaganda value they provided to the regime, now run by Fidel Castro’s brother Raul.
“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,” Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart.
“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,” they added.
The State Department said it was unaware of the visit or how it was arranged, according to Reuters. If they obtained a visa through a third country or traveled without one they could face a fine.
For all the latest developments in the case follow TheImproper on Twitter.