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5 Human Rights Disasters Beyonce And Jay-Z Could've Visited Instead Of Cuba Without Getting Slammed (SLIDESHOW)

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Opponents of the Castro government were quick to pounce on musical power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z for visiting Cuba for an anniversary trip recently.

In a letter dated April 5 to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which issues the licenses that U.S. citizens need to spend money legally on the island, Cuban-American Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fl.) slammed the couple and demanded an explanation:

Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people… The restrictions on tourism travel are commonsense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly and belief.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) joined the chorus Monday, saying "U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime."

U.S. citizens can’t legally travel to Cuba just for the sake of tourism. The couple hasn't yet commented on the trip. Though they were celebrating their fifth anniversary in Havana, Reuters reports that they had obtained a license from the Treasury Department for the trip, citing an unnamed source.

President John F. Kennedy first imposed U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba in 1962 as part of a larger economic embargo, in response to Cuba’s growing ties with the Soviet Union. The restrictions have remained in place since then, with tweaks here and there, except for a period from 1977 to 1982, when President Jimmy Carter let the restrictions expire.

These days, proponents of the travel restrictions justify the law based on human rights concerns. And indeed Cuba has a rough record. It has a totalitarian government that routinely uses the police to stifle dissent. The government routinely detains dissidents and has forced dozens into exile in recent years, according to Human Rights Watch.

But it’s clear that the United States holds Cuba to a different human rights standard when it comes to travel.

Would the celebrity couple have gotten criticized for visiting these five countries over concerns about their human rights violations? Probably not. Check them out in the slideshow above and let us know what you think in the comments.

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