In Defense of Beyoncé and Jay-Z's Cuba Trip

It's time to end restrictions on Americans' travel to the country, France François argues in a piece for Ebony. 

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Beyoncé in Cuba (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

It's time to end restrictions on Americans' travel to the country, France François argues in a piece for Ebony.

I never thought I'd mention Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and geopolitics in the same sentence. But the superstar couple is causing quite a stir by celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana, Cuba -- a country that has been completely off-limits to American vacationers for more than fifty years due to that Cold War relic, the embargo.

Last week, Mauricio Claver-Carone, Director for the US-Cuba Democracy PAC, blasted the couple's trip as "insulting," saying they were “clueless about the tortures happening in Cuba."  And Cuban American U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart have written a letter to the Department of Treasury requesting answers as to how the Carters' trip was authorized. But after spending the appropriate amount of time admiring Beyoncé’s outfit and Jay-Z’s ability to look cooly detached as he undoubtedly crafts a witty punchline in his head about private flights, Brooklyn mornings and Havana nights, all I wondered was why I too couldn’t stroll the streets of Havana as effortlessly as they are.  Rather, why is the United States holding on to the embargo against Cuba, a policy that Secretary of State John Kerry said "has manifestly failed” for more than half a century?

To some extent, President Obama has recognized that a new policy based on reality is needed towards Cuba. He loosened restrictions on travel for Cuban Americans, journalists, select student and religious groups -- and Beyoncé and Jay-Z. But that doesn’t go far enough.

Read France François' entire piece at Ebony.

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