Beyonce and Jay Z trip to Cuba was legal, say feds

Maria Puente, USA TODAY, August 20, 2014

Good news for Beyoncé and Jay Z, in the midst of fending off toxic rumors: Their fifth wedding anniversary visit to Cuba last year was legal, despite questions raised by some Republicans in Congress.

According to widespread but unconfirmed reports, America’s most powerful entertainment couple might not make it to their next wedding anniversary. But at least they’re not in trouble with the feds.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a report today saying Bey and Jay did not violate longtime U.S. sanctions against Cuba, which forbid U.S. citizens from visiting the island and spending any money there as tourists except under special license.

The couple did have such a license to visit under the “people-to-people” educational exchange program, and they did not abuse it, the report concluded.

When Shawn Carter and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (their real names) were mobbed by fans during their four-day visit to Cuba in April 2013, two Miami-area Cuban-American lawmakers demanded an investigation. Most Americans aren’t allowed to visit Cuba, not even superstars.

Jay Z even addressed the controversy by posting an Open Letter song to his blog.

The federal investigators reviewed media reports of what the couple did during their vacation: Dinners in private homes, a walking tour of Havana neighborhoods, a tour of Cuba’s top art school, a visit to a children’s theater group and stops at several dance clubs “where the couple heard live music and occasionally took to the dance floor,” the report said.

None of this could be considered deliberate or inadvertent support for Cuba’s Communist-run state, which is what the U.S. sanctions against Cuba are supposed to prevent.

“All of these activities serve the U.S. foreign policy goal of helping the Cuban people by facilitating exchanges with them and supporting the development of independent activity and civil society,” the report said.

“No further investigation is necessary,” the report concluded.

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