Thursday, 21 August 2014

Beyoncé And Jay Z's Trip To Cuba Did Not Violate Sanctions, US Says

Treasury responds to the request of the Republicans to see if the musicians violated the right wedding anniversary trip

Beyonce and Jay Z touring Old Havana as a bodyguard, left, and tour guide, right, accompany them.

Couple powerful American music industry Beyoncé and Jay Z did not violate American sanctions against Cuba to travel to the communist-ruled island last year, a review of the United States government has found.

"We found no indication that American sanctions were violated, and we conclude that the ... decision not to pursue a formal investigation was reasonable," said the review by the Office of Inspector General dated Wednesday Department Treasury.

The four-day visit in April 2013 was a cultural journey that is licensed by the Treasury Department, organizers said at the time.

The longstanding American trade embargo against Cuba prevents most Americans from traveling to the island without a license granted by the United States government.

Two Cuban-American members of Congress, both Republicans representing South Florida and supporters of a tough stance on Cuba, had asked the Treasury Department for information on what type of license that the couple obtained for the trip.

Beyonce and Jay Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana and were greeted by large crowds as they walked in the Cuban capital. They were immediately recognized despite the last half century of ideological conflict that separates the two countries.

The visit was planned as a cultural visit "people to people" and involved no meetings with Cuban officials, or the typical tourist activities, such as trips to the beach, organizers said at the time.

The trip includes visits with Cuban musicians and artists, as well as several night clubs where live music was performed, and some of the best restaurants in private management of the city, known as "tastes".

Beyonce and Jay Z were among a group of American stars visited the island in recent years, joining actors Bill Murray, Sean Penn and James Caan. But the couple was the first to cause a stir wherever they went.

While the ban has remained in place, the Obama administration has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba for academic, religious and cultural programs.