The Associated Press notes America’s 51-year embargo makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba solely for tourism. Travelers can visit the country legally by obtaining a “cultural exchange” license, however.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which approves travel to the country, would not comment on Beyonce and Jay-Z’s individual case.
Mauricio Claver-Carone, the Executive Director of Cuba Democracy Advocates in Washington, D.C., a group dedicated to promoting democracy in the Caribbean country, blasted the hip-hop power couple for vacationing in the communist nation.
“There are women getting beaten on a daily basis, women who are being jailed for no reason … people are fighting for their freedom,” he told TMZ, claiming Beyonce and Jay-Z’s failed to educate themselves on Cuba’s human rights violations before making the trip. “It’s extremely insensitive,” he added.
Following the Cuban Revolution of 1959, relations deteriorated substantially and have been marked by tension and confrontation since. The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Cuba and has maintained an embargo which makes it illegal for U.S. corporations to do business with Cuba. U.S. diplomatic representation in Cuba is handled by the United States Interests Section in Havana and there is a similar Cuban Interests Section in Washington D.C; both are officially part of the respective embassies of Switzerland.
The United States imposed the embargo because of the nationalization of US corporations’ property during the Revolution, and has stated it will continue it so long as the Cuban government continues to refuse to move toward democratization and greater respect for human rights, hoping to see democratization and a reintroduction of capitalism of the type that took place in Eastern Europe after the revolutions of 1989.
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