Beyonce sneaks into Cuba
I noticed that two members of Congress from Florida decided to snitch on Beyonce and Jay-Z for their visit to Havana last week.
The U.S. Treasury, you see, has rules for Americans visiting Cuba.
My wife and I visited Cuba on one of these trips last month, so I can tell you what those rules involve.
You board an unmarked 737 from a special terminal at the Miami Airport, fly to Havana, and get on a tourist bus with a guide who makes sure that even if your hotel is on a gorgeous Caribbean beach with white sand and turquoise waters, and even if strolling guitarists want to serenade your wife with Beatles’ tunes, you must spend the day on what are called “people-to-people” visits to schools, museums and art galleries.
Which was actually fine because we got to see a jazz combo at the music school, a chamber orchestra at the museum, and at the art gallery, we got into a discussion with an artist about freedom.
“We’re free,” said a woman.
“We have many troubles, I’d say, before. But I feel free,” said a man.
“I feel free to do whatever I want. We’re not leaving good,” the woman said.
We saw first-hand that Cubans can buy only government newspapers, and start only the smallest of home businesses, and saw that while schools and health care are free, most people live way below what Americans would consider poverty.
But I have to admit I felt a little silly asking them if they were free – knowing I was on a trip where my own government dictated where I could go.