Rubio, Congressmen Question Beyonce, Jay-Z's Cuba Trip

Couple can face a fine if they didn't obtain a license for the trip.

By Sam Schulz and Patrick Hickey Jr.
|  Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013  |  Updated 10:42 AM EDT
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Beyonce and Jay-Z caused a big stir in Havana as they marked their fifth wedding anniversary. R&B's power couple was mobbed by dozens of well-wishers at the renowned restaurant La Guarida and police had to step in to keep the crowds at bay. Check out this raw video from the scene.

AP

Beyonce and Jay-Z caused a big stir in Havana as they marked their fifth wedding anniversary. R&B's power couple was mobbed by dozens of well-wishers at the renowned restaurant La Guarida and police had to step in to keep the crowds at bay. Check out this raw video from the scene.

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Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba for their fifth wedding anniversary has a trio of GOP lawmakers asking questions of the White House.

Reuters reported that the pop music power couple had traveled to Cuba on a "cultural exchange" license from the Treasury — the only way Americans can legally travel there, in light of a 51-year-old trade embargo between the two countries.

During Monday's White House briefing, a spokesman declined to address the questions about the couple's trip, however. "That's not a White House matter, that's a Treasury matter, and I would refer you to Treasury," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Sources in Cuba told NBC News, however, that during their four-day visit, the two stars had met with a number of Cuban artists and music producers and had visited a fine arts college, children's theater company and modern dance company there.

After photos of Beyonce and Jay-Z in Havana first surfaced, showing them posing with locals and Jay-Z holding a cigar, Sen. Marco Rubio and two Florida congressmen began questioning whether the pair were educating themselves.

"According to recent news reports, Jay-Z and Beyonce's Cuba trip, which the regime seized on for propaganda purposes, was fully licensed by the Treasury Department. If true, the Obama administration should explain exactly how trips like these comply with U.S. law and regulations governing travel to Cuba," Rubio's office said in a statement Monday.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, who both represent large Cuban-American populations within their Florida districts, had earlier sent a letter to the Treasury, requesting information on the license the couple received to make the trip and who approved it.

"Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people," Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart said in the letter.

"Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda."

If the couple did not have a license to take the trip, they could face a fine. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana told the UK Independent that she did not know if one had been obtained.
 

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