By Kevin Bogardus - 04/14/13 02:33 PM EDT
On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blasted rapper Jay-Z for his recent trip to Cuba with his pop star wife Beyonce.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Rubio said the hip hop star needs to learn more about Cuba, including about one of the Communist country’s revolutionary founders.
“First of all, I think Jay-Z needs to get informed. One of his heroes is Che Guevara. Che Guevara was a racist,” Rubio said. “Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African descent, so he should inform himself on the guy that he’s propping up.”
The Florida Republican said Jay-Z “missed an opportunity” during his Cuba visit.
“I think if Jay-Z was truly interested in the true state of affairs in Cuba, he would have met people that are being oppressed, including a hip-hop artist in Cuba who is right now being oppressed and persecuted and is undergoing a hunger strike because of his political lyrics. And I think he missed an opportunity,” Rubio said.
There is a travel ban for most Americans to go to Cuba but one can obtain from the Treasury Department a travel license to visit the country under certain conditions, which Jay-Z and Beyonce reportedly did. Their trip has attracted criticism from Republican lawmakers and the White House sought to avoid the controversy.
Jay-Z has already rapped about the controversy, saying he got “White House clearance” and spoke to President Obama about the trip, which the White House has denied.
Rubio said the U.S. travel policy towards Cuba needs to be further tightened in the wake of Jay-Z’s trip.
“The travel policies need to be tightened because they are being abused. These are tourist trips, and they are — what they’re doing is providing hard currency and funding so that a tyrannical regime can maintain its grip on the island of Cuba, and I think that’s wrong,” Rubio said.