Â Originally posted at Clash Daily
Evidently, BeyoncÃ©â€™s $50 million deal with Pepsi didnâ€™t upset anti-soda pop Michelle enough to stand in the way of the hip-hop/pop star lovebirds obtaining a government okay to travel to Cuba to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. Heck, the Cartersâ€™ $4 million Obama 2012 campaign donation might even be worth granting the Duke and Duchess of Hublot a romantic jaunt to Tehran or Pyongyang.
Although America enforces sanctions against Castroâ€™s regime and Cuba is guilty of racial discrimination, violating human rights, and holding approximately 11 million people in perpetual poverty, Mr. and Mrs. Carter apparently couldnâ€™t imagine a dreamier locale to exchange traditional fifth wedding anniversary gifts of silver and (Iâ€™m not even gonna go there) wood.
Cuban-born representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) disagree. The representatives are concerned, not so much that chanteuse BeyoncÃ©â€™s hairdo might cause a neck sprain, but that the trip â€œfell a foul of Cold War-era restrictions on Americansâ€™ travel to Cuba.â€
The apprehension was that American billionaires throwing around wads of cash with special permission by government muckety-mucks would set a bad precedent and impart the foreign currency the oppressive communist regime sorely needs. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers and enforces trade and US economic sanctions against targeted foreign countries like Cuba, reassured Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen that the Jay and Beyâ€œ green lightâ€ was government-granted.
Unimpressed, Ileana Ros-Lehtinenâ€™s response was â€œI wish that they would have a little more common sense and understanding and solidarity with the suffering of the Cuban peopleâ€ who, the congress woman stressed,â€œ want freedom, and BeyoncÃ© and Jay-Z are there to have a good time.â€
However, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, for one to use â€œcommon sense,â€ one must possessâ€ common sense.â€ Moreover, in case itâ€™s eluded you, recently the â€œgood timeâ€ Cartersâ€™ BFFs shuttered the White House to commoners, while inside they behaved like Tudor monarchs being amused by â€œMemphis Soul Nightâ€ jesters.
Yet the idealistic Ros-Lehtinen still maintains thatâ€œ[n]o one is above the law, even if you are the diva BeyoncÃ© â€¦ famous and rich, and Jay-Z, everybody loves him, too. Terrific. But no oneâ€™s above the law.â€ Ileana! Again, whereâ€™ve you been for the last four years?
Clearly, Ros-Lehtinen feels that â€œThere are a lot of better placesâ€ the couple could have celebrated and not fed what she callsâ€ a monstrous regime.â€ Agreed! If â€œChe-obsessedâ€ Jay and bodacious bride Bey were only interested in â€œfeeding a monstrous regime,â€ they could have stayed home.
Florida senator Marco Rubio, another vocal critic of Cuba tourism, has said that â€œCuba is not a zoo where you pay an admission ticket and you go in and you get to watch people living in cages to see how they are suffering.â€ In response to the â€œCarter Anniversary Sightseeing Tourâ€, Rubio is calling on Cuban guayabera-wearing Obama for answers. Sorry Marco, but getting answers is about as likely as accessing you-know-whoâ€™s college transcripts.
Although originally it was reported that the vacation was licensed by the Treasury Department and that the couple traveled as â€œcultural ambassadors,â€ that story changed.
Obamaâ€™s Assistant Treasury Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Alastair Fitzpayne, wrote to Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balbart, saying, â€œIt is our understanding that the travelers in question traveled to Cuba pursuant to an educational exchange trip organized by a group authorized by OFAC to sponsor and organize programs to promote people-to-people contact in Cuba.â€
â€œPeople-to-people contact?â€ To shield herself from fans and paparazzi, BeyoncÃ© had taxpayer-funded Secret Service protect her while emerging from a Japanese restaurant.
Fitzpayne, who served as a senior policy advisor to Chicagoâ€™s bastion of honesty, Rahm Emanuel, mentioned that the OFAC â€œdoes not request the identities of the travelers on each trip.â€ Then Fitzpayne noted thatâ€œ organizations holding people-to-people licenses must certify in writing to OFAC that any travel that they conduct will consist of a full-time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.â€
BeyoncÃ© Knowles an educational diplomat? Talk show host Wendy Williams once said that when she talks, â€œBeyoncÃ© sounds like she has a fifth grade education.â€ In England, BeyoncÃ© remarked, â€œYâ€™all are so cute and yâ€™all talk so proper over here. I love England.â€ So now salsa dancing in a Cuban nightclub has officially been renamed â€œeducational activity?â€
On behalf of Michelle, BeyoncÃ© may be teaching los Cubanos how to use locally grown organic produce in their diet, and reminding them that paddling an â€œEsperanzaâ€ from Cuba to Florida, although great exercise, is not a substitute for â€œMove Your Body.â€
To usher in the birth of Blue Ivy, BeyoncÃ© spent $1,700 a night on a round-the-clock, one-on-one nursing care executive maternity suite at Manhattanâ€™s Lenox Hill Hospital. Quality healthcare experiences like that are fertile topics of discussion for BeyoncÃ© and Castrocare mommies.
Thankfully, high school dropout and â€œpeople-to-peopleâ€ person Jay-Z is not communist-averse, Cuban or otherwise. After all, he did contemplate rapping with communist co-majority owner of the New Jersey Nets, Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, at the Barclay Center. Prokhorov could have taught Shawn how 350 bottles of $300-a-bottle Armand de Brignac Brut Gold can be stacked to create an impressive tower, a perfect educational lesson for Cuban â€œisland prisoners.â€
Ros-Lehtinen continues to maintain that if the â€œking and queen of Cubaâ€™sâ€ vacation is â€œclassified as an educational exchange trip, then â€¦ the Obama Administration is not serious about denying the Castro regime an economic lifeline that US tourism will extend to it.â€ Yaâ€™ think? Ros-Lehtinen also observed that she didnâ€™t see â€œany evidence of how this scam endeavor will helpâ€¦ human rights activists [who] engage in hunger strikes â€¦to become independent of the regime.â€
Thatâ€™s because human rights and independence from oppressive regimes is not what this trip was about. The purpose of the â€œeducational exchange tripâ€ was to have BeyoncÃ© teach Cuban women how â€œSasha Fierceâ€ they can look in designer sunglasses, and for Fedora-wearing Shawn Carter to prove to Cuban men that itâ€™s possible to smoke a Cuban cigar and walk at the same time.