Open Letter

Tim Ross
April 15, 2013 Posted by Tim Ross

My wife and I go on vacation every anniversary.  Apparently, we’re not the only people that do this.  Recently the Treasury Department provided Jay Z and Beyoncé a license to travel to Cuba for their Fifth Wedding Anniversary.  The only problem with this is that the U.S. restricts its citizens from traveling to or even just spending money on the communist island.  In fact, U.S. citizens may not even receive goods or services for free from any Cuban national.

beyonce cuba
There are exceptions.  One may obtain a general license to go.  In order to qualify for such a license, one must be a:

  • Professional journalist on assignment in Cuba
  • Full-time professional conducting academic research or attending professional conferences
  • Person on official government business

There are also specific licenses, which are reserved for:

  • Persons visiting immediate family in Cuba
  • Full-time graduate students conducting academic research to be counted toward a graduate degree
  • Undergraduate or graduate students participating in a study abroad program of at least 10 weeks in length
  • Professors/teachers employed at a US institution traveling to Cuba to teach
  • Persons engaging in religious activities
  • Freelance journalists
  • Persons engaging in humanitarian projects
  • Persons engaging in non-profit cultural exhibitions

But, the big no-no is that you cannot travel to Cuba for purposes of tourism.  So, eyebrows were raised recently when photos of Jay Z and Beyoncé touring Cuba surfaced on the Internet.  They didn’t appear to be engaged in religious activities, conducting any academic research, attending any professional conferences, working on any humanitarian projects, on any journalistic assignments, conducting any non-profit cultural exhibitions or even visiting immediate family.

jayz  cuba
What was clearly apparent was that Jay Z and Beyoncé was vacationing. Enjoying big Cuban cigars, dining out, partying in the evening and so on.  What was clear was that they traveled to Cuba for the purpose of tourism.  Criminal penalties for violating these embargo laws range up to ten years in prison, $1 million in corporate fines, and $250,000 in individual fines; civil penalties up to $55,000 per violation.

Yet, Jay Z and Beyoncé, Obama supporters and fundraisers, received not even a slap on the wrist from the federal government.  What they did receive, however, was some criticism by a handful of Cuban-American politicians (U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Senator Marco Rubio) and some bad press.  I guess it pays to know the top guy in the White House.

After the Cuban trip was questioned and declared inappropriate, Jay Z decided to write an “Open Letter” which stated:

Ladies and gentlemen
Let this shit knock

I done turned Havana to Atlanta
Guayabera shirts and bandanas
Every time you think they got me I switch the planna
Bulletproof this, radio scanners
Ballin’ ’til they ban us
You gettin’ too much bread, they tryna’ jam you
Boy from the hood but got White House clearance
Sorry y’all, I don’t agree with y’all appearance
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
I might buy a kilo for Chief Keef
Out of spite, I just might flood these streets
Hear the freedom in my speech
Got an onion from Universal, read it and weep
Would’ve bought the Nets to Brooklyn for free
Except I made millions off it, you fuckin’ dweeb
I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seat
Y’all buy that bullshit, you’d better keep your receipt
Obama said chill, you gonna get me impeached
But you don’t need this shit anyway
Chill with me on the beach

Y’all gon’ learn today

Ya’ll almost want to start a revolution
You know whenever I’m threatened, I start shooting, bark
Catch a body, head to Houston
I’m in Cuba, I love Cubans
This communist talk is so confusing
When it’s from China, the very mic that I’m using
Idiot wind, the Bob Dylan of rap music
You’re an idiot baby, you should become a student
Oh, you gonna learn today
Where the fuck have you been
The world’s under new management
The new role model, fuck this Zoolander shit

Wow.  What a braintrust.  I guess if he hadn’t dropped out of high school to sell crack cocaine, he would’ve learned that the embargo that is imposed against Cuba isn’t simply because they are a communist country, but it is because two years after the Batista regime was deposed by the Cuban Revolution,  Cuba nationalized the properties of United States citizens and corporations.

Let me put it in a way that Jay Z, a self-described peddler of crack cocaine, can understand.  Imagine you had one of your gangstas slinging rock in the ‘hood.  Then one day, your gangsta got snatched by a local, stole your merchandise and then they started hustling it.  You got jacked, sucka.   That’s what Cuba did to the United States.  Now, how whacked would you be to send your crack whores there to do business?  Well, Beyoncé is like the crack whore who is spending your money making the punk ass that stole from you richer. Not only that, they are also using your own money to jail, torture and eventually 187 your original gangsta that got snatched up in that ‘hood in the first place.  There… now do you get it?

Seriously kids, stay in school.

So, there is a reason why people are getting bent out of shape about the visit.  Cuba stole from American citizens and companies.  To put it in perspective, acclaimed author Ernest Hemingway lost everything — manuscripts and all — to Cuba when he was exiled during their revolution.  Those treasurers are in Cuba to this day… and the communist regime declared that they are the property of Cuba.

There is another reason.  Cuba has many Human Rights violations that include throwing in jail political prisoners (those that opposed or criticized the government of their own country), torturing them, injuring them and in many cases murdering them.  There exists a Cuban Memorial displayed at Tamiami Park in Miami, Florida.  Each cross bears the name of a victim of Castro’s genocide against the Cuban people.  There are thousands of crosses.  Sadly, it estimated that Fidel Castro’s Cuba is responsible for the death of over 150,000 Cubans over the last sixty years.

So, in short, Jay Z and Beyoncé’s little vacation basically excused Cuba’s theft of American property as well as helped pay for the imprisonment, torture and murder of political prisoners that dare speak out against the oppressive communist regime.

Now enter rapper Pitbull, born in Miami to Cuban parents.

Another drug dealer turned rapper, at least Pitbull graduated high school.  That’s probably how he could reference Cuba’s lack of freedom, Elián González, Russian missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs in his own “Open Letter.”  Here are the lyrics:

Mr. Worldwide

First letter of Cuba,
is an open letter.
So you know I had to do this,
Let’s start like this!

Born in Miami, right on time
Scarface El Mariel, Cuban crime
Admit it if you want to,
truth is the truth, lie if you want to
Politics, yeah that’s politic
Let’s not act like half our families ain’t flipped bricks
we made Miami something from nothing
Let’s not forget that we came from nothing
Los judios del caribe, ahora estan jovdios en el caribe
Blood is blood, don’t act like we anemic
Elián got snatched back the whole world seen it,
Russian Missile Crisis had America stating on nuclear ice
Bay of Pigs big bluff,
We thought they had our back, but they left us straight stuck
I ain’t here to hold the grudge,
I love the freedom that has been given to us
Uh, now break down us, get it? U-S that’s right, God bless,
Here’s the freedom we ride for,
Here’s the freedom we die for,
C-U-B-A, hope to see you free one day.
Here’s the freedom we ride for,
Here’s the freedom we die for,
C-U-B-A, hope to see you free one day.

Abuela y tia, Sierra Maesra, which led to my mother in
“Pedro Pan”
In Cuba hit the lotto that means
get your family,
search for freedom and run
Havana made Vegas, ask Meyer Lansky
That’s if you know where his grave is
  Hermanos al rescate, brothers to the rescue,
Don’t agree with the change Castro talk,
But it’s hard to understand unless they educate you
Politicians love to hate you,
But then they run away when it’s time to debate you
Question of the night: would they have mess with Mr. Carter if he was white?
Hmmm, rhyme with treasury, One way another in Cuba is where they’ll bury me
Happy 50 anniversary!
JNB, don’t worry, it’s on me.
Here’s the freedom we ride for,
Here’s the freedom we die for,
C-U-B-A, hope to see you free one day.
Here’s the freedom we ride for,
Here’s the freedom we die for,
C-U-B-A, hope to see you free one day.

Y para todo el mundo en Cuba
Con la ayuda de Dios
Nos vemos pronto

I was tempted to give him kudos for taking on Jay Z and Beyoncé, but noticed that he handled his letter some deftness that was designed not to offend the power couple.   He takes responsibility, he wished them a happy anniversary and also suggested that due to their race, they were being unfairly criticized, “Question of the night: would they have mess with Mr. Carter if he was white?”


So here is the answer… Yes, those of us getting all bent out of shape about Jay Z and Beyoncé also get bent out of shape over Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Benicio del Toro, Robert Redford and Stephen Soderbergh going to Cuba; however, there is one enormous difference. When those other leftist Americans go, they go on legitimate licenses.  NONE have gone because it was their fifth anniversary vacation!

So, sorry Pitbull… you only got it half right.  And Jay Z and Beyoncé — not only selling crack cocaine at one time to America’s youth, but also the writers of misogynist and racist music –  you just helped support a communist regime that stole from Americans and has a record that sees hundreds of thousands of innocent Cubans jailed, tortured and murdered for the last half century.

But you really don’t care, do you?  Of course not, you think the world is under new management.

Anyway, the two things I get out of this are (1) make sure my child graduates high school, and (2) don’t put Cuba on any of our future anniversary vacation trips.

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One Response to Open Letter

  1. greatday on April 15, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I am sure a lot of people may know someone who was a refugee from Cuba. I knew a great lady who lived in a retirement home who had fled with her parents and siblings when she was 5 years old, her dad only had 5.00 in his pocket when he got here. I don’t think she regretted the move, but at 5 I doubt if she really knew why.

    Why would someone go to a country that flaunts itself like Castro, taking all the peoples rights away, imprisoning people, killing. There is no way.

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