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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

April 9, 2013 - 5:11 pm

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.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (4)
All Comments   (4)
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An educational exchange? You have to be kidding.Why would Cuba want a school system based on Chicago experience.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder if they brought back any cigars for somebody.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was thinking the same thing.
Since Jay was puffing away on a stogie in every picture I saw, there's no doubt he probably brought back a box or two. Or fifty.
Like they searched his luggage!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They are not even pretending to pretend anymore. And the tax payer gets hit again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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