Beyonce, Jay-Z’s Cuba Trip Approved by U.S. Government

U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, tour Old Havana, Cuba, Thursday, April 4, 2013. R&B's power couple is in Havana on their fifth wedding anniversary. AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

Beyonce and Jay-Z weren't flouting any international laws when they spent their fifth wedding anniversary last week in Havana, Cuba. In fact, the superstar couple visited the communist-led island with the blessing of the U.S. government and the Treasury Department, sources tell Reuters. The singer, 31, and the hip-hop mogul, 43, were criticized for their vacation choice in some corners: A longstanding U.S. trade embargo against Cuba prohibits most Americans from visiting Cuba — which has a questionable human rights record — without a license granted by U.S. authorities.

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Quelling those fears, Reuters, citing a source, says that the superstar couple's sojourn was a "cultural trip" fully licensed by the Treasury Department, and that the twosome (whose wedding anniversary was April 4) met with Cuban artists and musicians, visited several live music nightclubs, dined at private restaurants known as "paladares," and visited a children's theater.

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Three Cuban-American, Republican members of Congress — who support a firm stance on U.S. dealings with Cuba — had previously asked the Treasury Department to investigate the "Love on Top" singer's trip with her man. According to Reuters' source, Blue Ivy's parents' visit was a "people-to-people" trip — and involved no meetings with Cuban officials or typical tourist activities like visits to the beach.

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Although Cuba has long been sequestered from American pop culture, global celebrities Beyonce and Jay-Z caused chaos where they went during their Havana visit. "It's hard to imagine a more people-to-people contact visit than the scenes witnessed last week on the streets of Havana with two of the United States' biggest music stars wading through crowds of fans they never knew they had," John McAuliff, executive director for the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, told Reuters.

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