- The Washington Times
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beyonce’s and Jay-Z’s widely criticized fifth anniversary trip to communist-run Cuba was blessed by the Obama administration, Reuters reported Tuesday morning.

Citing a “source familiar with the itinerary,” Reuters said that the two entertainers had their trip fully licensed by the Treasury Department before leaving.

The U.S. trade embargo against Cuba means that most Americans can’t freely travel there without first having a special license granted by the federal government. Such licenses are somewhat rare, but not unheard of.

The couple’s vacation was described as a “people-to-people” cultural exchange and involved no meetings with Cuban officials, but the couple was greeted by huge, cheering crowds in the Cuban capital of Havana. Reuters also reported that the duo met with Cuban artists and musicians and visited the hottest Havana restaurants and clubs.

It’s not the first time American entertainers have visited Cuba. In 2005, the rock band Audioslave played a free concert to about 70,000 people in Havana. It was the first time an American band had been permitted to play in Cuba,

While the Cuban people welcomed Beyonce and Jay-Z, members of Congress aren’t happy about the trip. Two members of Congress over the weekend demanded an explanation from the administration as to why they were permitted to make the trip.

“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,” wrote Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, both Florida Republicans, in a letter to the Treasury Department. “The restrictions on tourism travel are common-sense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly and belief.”

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