Beyoncé, Jay-Z having great time in Cuba

2013-04-07 10:00

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American pop star Beyoncé and rapper husband Jay-Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary this week in Havana, where large crowds greeted them as they strolled hand in hand through the Cuban capital.

They ate at some of the city’s best restaurants, danced to Cuban music, walked through historic Old Havana and posed for pictures with admiring Cubans, who recognised them despite the past half-century of ideological conflict that separates the US and Cuba.

They were the latest and perhaps greatest big-name American stars – actors Bill Murray, Sean Penn and James Caan among them – to visit the Caribbean island in the past few years, but the first to cause such a stir everywhere they went.

Fans in the street below cried out Beyoncé’s name as she and Jay-Z and their mothers dined at the upstairs restaurant La Guarida, famed as the location for the hit 1993 Cuban film Strawberry and Chocolate.

Beyoncé, camera in hand, wore a colourful print mini-dress, big sunglasses, dangling ­ earrings and her long braids piled high.

The Grammy winner posed for a photograph with a group of smiling Cuban schoolchildren.

The couple declined to talk to the media to explain the purpose of their visit.

But a source close to the group said they were invited by Cuba’s tourism ministry.

The long-standing US trade embargo against Cuba prevents most Americans from travelling to the island without a licence granted by the US government, though President Barack Obama’s administration has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba for academic, religious or cultural exchanges.

In Washington, the State Department said it had no prior knowledge of the visit.

A spokesperson at the US Interests Section in Havana said she did not know if the two stars obtained a licence for their trip.

If they don’t have one they could be fined.

Publicists for the couple did not return emails or phone calls seeking comment.

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