The House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill Wednesday that contains travel restrictions to Cuba as a result of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s trip to the Communist island in April, according to Politico.
“This is the Jay-Z, Beyonce Bill,” Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee who opposes the provision, told POLITICO. “Absolutely [it’s a response to the trip], and it’s playing to the audience in Miami.”
Currently, Americans can visit Cuba only if sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and trips are mostly approved for those whose itineraries are cultural, academic, journalistic or religious.
Over the years, U.S. citizens have managed to get around the restrictions for visiting Cuba by first going to other countries like Mexico and Canada, then slipping into the island. Often, Cuban immigration officials at airports do not stamp Americans’ passports to help them avoid problems once they return to the United States.
Serrano told Politico that the superstar couple’s trip should have been kept hush-hush. “The mistake they made was being seen in public, by that I mean they being who they are walking down the street,” he said. “We may consider Cuba a closed society, but even it is – it’s not closed enough so they don’t know who Jay-Z and Beyoncé are.”
He added: “What you’re seeing here is the result of a successful trip …isn’t it educational for a superstar in our country to go to Cuba and say, ‘Look who we are?’”
On the flip side, Subcommittee Chairman Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) told Politico that Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s trip “was an example of how the guidelines are not being enforced.”
Crenshaw went on say, “I think that if we’re going to say that we have this policy in place that relates to travel in Cuba, that it ought to be enforced, and that becomes a grey area where they’re probably not really following the guidelines.”