Business Day

Grossly different treatment

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RAPPER Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, have just spent their fifth anniversar­y in Cuba, exploring an island where most Americans cannot set foot.

The US trade embargo against the Castro regime bars such trips, but the treasury department reportedly approved the excursion as a “cultural visit”.

No surprise here: the couple are rich and well-connected — Beyoncé even lip-synched the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s inaugurati­on in January.

Some Cuban-American legislator­s are furious about the couple’s special treatment.

But our concern isn’t what the US government is doing to let Americans enter Cuba — it’s what the government is doing to make sure Americans can leave.

US government contractor Alan Gross has been locked up since he was arrested at the Havana airport in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in Castro’s prisons for helping Cuban Jews connect to the internet.

It’s bad enough that the treasury department is eager to accommodat­e wealthy celebritie­s who want to visit Cuba and enjoy Havana’s nightlife.

It’s so much worse that the state department is apparently unable to free an American citizen in its employ who has spent nearly 1,500 nights in Cuban chains. New York City, April 10

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