Marco Rubio says Jay-Z ‘needs to get informed’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) chided rapper Jay-Z Sunday over his recent trip to Cuba and favorable portrayal of guerrilla leader Che Guevara.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z in Havana, Cuba. (EPA/ALEJANDRO ERNESTO) Beyoncé and Jay-Z in Havana, Cuba. (EPA/Alejandro Ernesto)

"I mean, 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 on ABC News's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "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 rapper has referred to Guevara in his music and has worn a shirt with his image on it.

Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce recently traveled to Cuba, a trip allowed by the Treasury Department. Rubio, who is Cuban American, said if the rapper really wanted to take an interest in what's going on in Cuba, he should have met with oppressed people.

"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," Rubio said. "And I think he missed an opportunity."

Rubio was apparently referring to Angel Remon Yunier Arzuaga, whom the senator tweeted about last week. The Cuban rapper was put in jail for lyrics protesting against the Cuban government.

Rubio added that travel policies regarding Cuba need to be stricter.

"The bigger point is the travel policies. 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," he said.

 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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Sean Sullivan · April 14, 2013

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