The New York Independent

Beyonce, Jay-Z Travel to Cuba, Despite U.S. Lawmaker Protests

Beyonce, Jay-Z Travel to Cuba, Despite U.S. Lawmaker Protests 1

Jay-Z and Beyonce, in a photo unrelated to their trip, are traveling in Cuba, despite protests by U.S. Lawmakers. (Photo: INFDaily)

Beyonce and Jay-Z are the latest “tourists” to take advantage of the Obama administration’s eased travel restrictions to Cuba, an island nation once off-limits to U.S. travelers. But some lawmakers are protesting the changes.

The power music couple was spotted strolling around Havana, the Communist nation’s capital today (Apr. 4). They chose to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary there.

In all likelihood, their hotel rooms were bugged and they were probably escorted or followed around 24 hours a day, according to the anti-Castro website Babalú.

Some 400,000 Americans visited Cuba last year, second in number only to Canadian tourists. Most are said to be Cuban-Americans with relatives or other ties to the country. But an increasing number are like Beyonce and Jay-Z, just casual tourists.

They reportedly toured the city and dined on a rooftop terrace overlooking the picturesque Havana harbor.

Beyonce incensed some Cuban-Americans for being photographed with a a Castro youth group dedicated to revolution like Che Guevara. Was it a propaganda stunt?

The country has been firmly under the thumb of Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro since the 1959 revolution that overthrew the pro-U.S. government. But Castro is now in his 80s and largely retired from governing the nation. His brother, Raul, is Cuba’s president.

President Bill Clinton relaxed restrictive travel rules after taking office in the 1990s. They were re-established by President Bush, following his election and rolled-back again by President Obama. U.S. companies can arrange visas, but only for educational or cultural missions.

To travel the island without restrictions, U.S. visitors must book their trips through a third country, like Mexico or Canada. Those trips are still officially banned by U.S. law. The country is still also under a strict 50-year trade embargo.

UPdate: Beyonce, Jay-Z Cuba Trip Faces GOP Probe in Washington

In Congress, several Miami-area representatives are outraged by the increased travel. Miami Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, also a Republican, say the Cuba travel programs verge on “indoctrination,” according to NPR.

Cuba, on the other hand, is eager to attract Americans because it desperately needs U.S. dollars to engage in foreign trade.

So, was it wise for two high-profile Americans like Beyonce and Jay-Z to vacation in Cuba? Let us know your thoughts and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest celebrity news.