April 08, 2013 11:42am PT by Jordan Zakarin
Jay-Z and Beyonce's Cuba Trip Has Congress Members Angry and the Government Investigating
Jay-Z and Beyonce's island tour has them in hot water.
The most famous celebrity couple in America visited the nation's longtime rival, the impoverished island state of Cuba, to celebrate their fifth anniversary last week. The trip included sightseeing around the capital of Havana and enjoying the country's famous cigars, as well as a performance by several of the nation's most famous musicians.
It was by all accounts a fun time, but two members of Congress are less than pleased.
Florida Republicans Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who represent communities with strong populations of Cuban exiles and their families, wrote a letter to the Treasury Department asking for an investigation in the trip.
Citing restrictions that largely forbid most Americans from visiting Cuba, they pointed to Cuba's poor record of human rights and its classification as a state sponsor of terror.
Despite those restrictions, they wrote, "numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda. 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."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the decision to authorize the travel was made by the Treasury Department. The Obama administration has eased travel restrictions to Cuba.
The Treasury Department issued a statement to Buzzfeed on the matter, writing, "We have received [the letter], it is under review and [Office of Foreign Assets Control] will respond accordingly."
Of course, the juggernaut couple are close friends with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and hosted fundraisers and concerts to support Obama's re-election campaign last year.
Accounts of the pair's trip dripped out on Facebook, including from former Bomboleo singer Haila Mompié, who performed for Jay-Z and Beyonce.
"I never imagined that I would be the one to sing for the great international American stars: Beyoncé and Jay-Z," she wrote. "You can't imagine the emotion I felt being able to give my humble voice to those two greats. It was like a dream…"
According to Billboard, legendary singer Juana Bacallo also performed, as did several dance troupes.