“Politicians never did shit for me except lie to me, distort history. Wanna give me jail time and a fine? Fine , let me commit a real crime.” these are words hip hop giant Jay Z spat on his song “Open Letter.” The lyrics concern the 5 year anniversary trip Jay and wife, Beyonce took to Cuba that was met with heavy scrutiny by political officials. Some claimed that it was illegal given America’s tight restrictions on travel to Cuba. However, Jay Z and Beyonce have just been cleared by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The government body deemed their trip “an official ‘people-to-people’ cultural exchange authorized by a non-profit group who obtained legal documentation for the two to travel there.”
The OFAC absolved Jay Z and Beyonce with the following statement:
OFAC is authorized to license travel to Cuba for people-to-people educational exchanges that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or help promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities. Based on our review of the applicable laws and regulations, OFAC guidelines, the OFAC case file for the non-profit organization including related correspondence between OFAC and the organization, and inquiry of OFAC officials, we believe OFAC’s determination that there was no apparent violation of U.S. sanctions with respect to Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip to Cuba was reasonable. While we are not making a formal recommendation in this memorandum, we believe that OFAC should document in its files with a summary of the basis for its determinations with respect to this matter.
Maybe if the naysayers won’t listen to Jay, they’ll listen to Dick Gregory on The Carters’ trip: