The Office of Foreign Assets Control just responded to Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) about the permission granted to Jay-Z and Beyonce to celebrated their wedding anniversary in Cuba.
According to the Treasury Department, “It is our understanding that the travelers in question traveled to Cuba pursuant to an educational exchange trip organized by a group authorized by OFAC to sponsor and organize programs to promote people-to-people contact in Cuba.”
“OFAC’s regulations and guidelines require that such trips involve a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that result in meaningful interaction between the U.S. travelers and individuals in Cuba,” said the letter from Alastair Fitzpayne, assistant secretary for legislative affairs. “OFAC does not restrict the subject matter of the educational activities so long as they are designed to result in meaningful interaction with the Cuban people, and travelers pursuing a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities may engage in non-educational activities off-hours.”
The organizations pulling together such trips aren’t required to run the names of travelers through the government to be licensed, but must supply licensing information to travel service providers.
“If the tourist activities undertaken by Beyonce and Jay-Z in Cuba are classified as an educational exchange trip, then it is clear that the Obama Administration is not serious about denying the Castro regime an economic lifeline that US tourism will extend to it,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “That was a wedding anniversary vacation that was not even disguised as a cultural program. As more human rights activists engage in hunger strikes, I don’t think they will see any evidence of how this scam endeavor will help them become independent of the regime.”