Beyoncé and Jay-Z seem to be having a lot of fun in Cuba this week. Strolling through the streets of Havana with big smiles, apparently without a worry in their heads that their mere presence would be seized upon by the communist Cuban propaganda machine.
Right on cue, the top Cuban diplomat in Washington is somewhat comically complaining that the American media is spending too much time covering the world tour of Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez and not enough time talking about Beyoncé.
"Too much attention has been devoted to this lady, taking a lot of attention from the most important... news that has been happening these days in regards to Cuba," diplomat Jose Cabanas said yesterday, according to Reuters. "Including the presence of Beyoncé, the singer, who is today in Havana, enjoying a lot of attention from the public, but it's not covered by the media -- incredible."
"This lady" that Cabanas is referring to is Sanchez. The blogger, who has become the premier cyber-age critique of the Castro regime, is on an 80-day tour of the world. Her tour included a stop in Miami at the Freedom Tower this past Monday.
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Sanchez's international tour de Castro criticism has doubtlessly left the Cuban government uneasy, but as a representative for a country ever critical of America, Cabanas is perhaps overestimating the state of our media and the interests of our people. Cabanas is basically damning the American media for supposedly paying too much attention to an important political story and not enough to rich, beautiful celebrities having fun. Most other critiques of American media would posit the exact opposite.
The visit of one of America's most famous couples has garnered countless headlines since the news broke yesterday afternoon (it was the top story on El Nuevo Herald's website), and we'd wager in that short time more Americans now know that Beyoncé is in Havana than even know who Yoani Sanchez is.
Though the dates of the Knowles-Carter trip to Havana might have been chosen to celebrate the couple's fifth wedding anniversary, politically it couldn't have been more poorly timed. But maybe in an odd way, it could draw more attention to Sanchez's message. Hell, anytime you can fit someone into a headline with Beyoncé, it's guaranteed to garner more attention. Unfortunately for Beyoncé, this time it won't make her look too good.