The uproar started by Republican Congress members of Cuban origin Marco Rubio and Ileana Ros-Lethinen around the recent trip to Cuba of Afro-American superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z has shed light on issues that go far beyond the hostilities between the two sides of the Florida Strait.
Both Senator Rubio and Representative Ros-Lethinen are political names in the state of Florida very closely linked to the actions, and especially to the funds that for decades Washington has been allotted to fight the Cuban Revolution. They are both prominent members of what in Cuba is known as the counterrevolutionary Miami mafia, and in Florida is defined as the anti-Cuban hate industry.
The very popular couple formed by rapper Shawn Carter (stage name Jay-Z) and pop singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is professionally known as “Bejay”.
They have been married for five years and decided to celebrate their anniversary in Cuba taking advantage of the discreet openings in the travel ban (laws which forbid travel to Cuba) recently authorized by President Barack Obama’s administration. These allow travel for certain categories of United Staes citizens with special approval by Washington.
The couple could make the trip to “the forbidden island” with their mothers and other relatives and aides. To do so they had to comply with all the restrictions Washington imposes on their citizens who travel to Cuba. The organizers of the Bejay trip had to submit to the Treasury’s Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) a detailed itinerary before they were granted the license for the visit.
The laws and regulations of the blockade to Cuba forbid Americans to travel to Cuba, but during the administration of Bill Clinton and for certain categories of persons some were approved: trips for religious, humanitarian and educational purposes. President Bush abolished this, but Barack Obama approved them again as part of his “people- to-people” policy whose explicit aim is that visitors promote “democracy” among Cubans (democracy understood as a synonym for capitalism by Washington).
Cuba has always accepted the challenge implied in this purpose which attempts to challenge its national sovereignty. This is because, in practice, it offers Cubans the opportunity to show visitors the falsehoods of the campaign that the U.S. government and the media have waged against Cuba for more than half a century .
The distance between the manipulations of the campaign and the truth is of such magnitude that –generally– on the first contact with reality, visitors open up to an understanding of the reasons that underpinned the historical popular accomplishment that is the Cuban Revolution, and the unreasonableness of the policy of hostility of their government against the island.
Bejay dedicated their full time in Cuba to visiting the Instituto Superior de Arte [University of the Arts], attending the performances of a famous children theatre company, and a modern dance ensemble among other cultural and educational activities; abstaining from visiting the many beaches and recreation centers for tourism that millions of national and foreign tourists enjoy in Cuba. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tried to provoke a scandal. They managed to get many American and world media to publish the lie that Beyoncé and Jay-Z had travelled to Cuba illegally (or without the proper license).
This was an attempt to reverse Obama’s decisions which have brought a certain relaxation to the prohibition of travelling to Cuba whi affected Americans, and at the same time depicted Obama as a defender of the Cuban government; something that he certainly is not.
With this they also suggested that Obama was giving privileged treatment to Afro-Americans and thus win support among non-Black Americans for their anti-Cuban crusade, accusing Bejay and their Black friends and relatives of breaking the U.S. law by travelling to Cuba.
Rubio and Ros-Lethinen have never moved a finger in favor of the dark skin of the Latinos who reside in the United States, and much less for Black Americans. As adherents of capitalism, they make use of racism and sexism to keep peoples divided and unable to join together against the unfair order that oppresses them.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs3768.html