The right-wing Republicans who dominate Congressional Cuban policy are charging Beyonce and Jay-Z with violating the US travel embargo by spending a three-day wedding anniversary on the island last week. Spending any tourist dollars in Cuba props up the Castro government, according to Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both of Florida, who represent the far-right Cuba Lobby in Miami and Washington.
Beyonce and Jay-Z are close friends of President Obama. Within a day of the right-wing attacks, the Obama Treasury Department issued a letter saying the pair's Cuba travel was legal.
My wife Barbara and son Liam happened to visit La Colmenita, a children’s theater group in Havana, during the same week that Beyonce and Jay-Z “danced with little girls dressed as bumblebees,” according to a New York Times account filed from Mexico City. My family attended a children’s performance of Beatle’s songs in English at the same theater. We also enjoyed an arts presentation by a Peruvian painter named Felix, who was born without hands. The message for the children was that everyone has gifts, worth and potential.
La Colmenita’s founder, Carlos Alberto Cremata, sees the theater as “a big playground,” a beehive of creativity where plays by Shakespeare, Tirso de Molina and classic playwrights are performed by young people who might be stars in a play one day and curtain operator the next. The walls of the original recording studio, now refurbished, were cushioned by egg cartons looking like honeycomb. La Colmenita is supported by UNICEF and has performed to audiences across the world.
Cremata follows in the footsteps of his father, who organized makeshift theater performances, until he died in the 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cubana airliner carrying 73 passengers, most of them young Cuban athletes. The bombing was engineered by Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, according to declassified US intelligence reports. Posada Carriles remains a hero in the right-wing Miami Cuban community represented by Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart.