No, I am not one who will question whether your trip to Cuba was legal or not, according to U.S. law. How one interprets the law that regulates the travel by Americans — approving cultural mission but prohibiting tourist travel — is a distinction without a difference.
I understand you could turn a glorious three-night vacation to Cuba with a "people to people" license granted by the Treasury Department and then make it into a cultural affair by spending a little time seeing a children's dance troupe.
Mind you I am not a fan of your music. I am too old to appreciate the talent critics say you have and today's youth applauds. But then, this is not about music but rather about civil rights, which the two of you defend with passion.
Where did the two of you leave your passion for the defense of civil rights for blacks and minorities during your trip to Cuba? Maybe you did something very privately to help the plight of black Cubans in the island.
Granted, I do not like, in fact I despise Fidel and Raúl Castro and what they have done to a country that more than five decades ago was misgoverned but still had one of the highest standards of living in the Western Hemisphere, outside of the United States and Canada.
The following, however, are facts:
Ms. Beyoncé and Jay-Z,
Do either of you know or have heard anything about Sonia Garro, a black Cuban woman who was arrested and has been held in prison for over a year because she demanded respect for human rights and the freedom to express her view? Garro hasn't been charged with any crime yet, but she and her husband, also a black Cuban, have been behind bars since they were violently arrested. Have either of you bothered to ask your Cuban minders about Sonia Garro and her husband?
Or, did you read the op-ed article published in The New York Times by Roberto Zurbano on March 23, 2013?
Zurbano, a black Cuban, wrote a piece titled "for Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution hasn't begun." Zurbano should know, for he was editor and publisher of Casa de Las Américas publishing house, Cuba's government approved publisher of literature. That was his job until his column appeared in the NYT. When it ran, he lost his job. The Castro brothers do not like people reminding them that the revolution has marginalized Cuban blacks.
I wonder also if Ms. Beyoncé asked for five minutes to talk to Berta Soler, the spokeswoman of the Ladies in White, a group of women who for the last 10 years after mass each Sunday walk the streets to protest the arrest of political prisoners.
They began marching in April of 2003, a date now called Cuba's Black Spring, when the government arrested 75 peaceful dissidents throughout the island. th Ave. and 28th Street in what used to be called Miramar.
Now women march in churches throughout the island. Each week is a challenge for them because government goons go out and beat them and detain them so they cannot march peacefully. It doesn't work. Every week more and more women attend churches throughout the island and carry a white gladiolus in their hand as a symbol of their protest.
I know American journalists like Damien Cave of the New York Times will defend your right to travel to the island and disparage exiles who dare lift their voices against you. In a story published April 8, he called it a "sudden predictable controversy" between Miami and Havana. Cave is right for Cubans in exile have the same right to protest as blacks in South Carolina did when the state insisted on keeping the Confederate Flag as part of South Carolina's state banner.
Your hypocrisy is beyond comprehension. What is the difference between defending the civil rights of African Americans and those of blacks in Cuba?
I would appreciate it if either of you would take the time to explain this to me or to blacks oppressed in Cuba.
Guillermo I. Martínez on Twitter at @g_martinez123, or email him at Guimar123@gmail.com