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Beyoncé defends trip to Cuba

Beyonce at the New York premiere of

Beyonce at the New York premiere of "Beyonce: Life is but a Dream." (Feb. 12, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

Pop singer Beyoncé Monday expressed "shock" at the controversy engendered by her and her rap-star husband Jay-Z's trip last month to Cuba, which is under a U.S. travel embargo for tourism, though not for approved cultural-exchange trips.

"You know, it was such a beautiful trip," Beyoncé, 31, told "Good Morning America." "I met some incredible children. I visited some incredible entrepreneurs. And it was really, it was really educational for me. I learned so much about so many people and the country, and [the criticism] was actually quite shocking."

The trip, which encompassed the couple's fifth anniversary on April 4, came under scrutiny by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

A Treasury Department official responded in an April 9 letter to the lawmakers that the trip had been approved by the Office of Foreign Assets Control as "an educational exchange trip organized by a group authorized by OFAC to sponsor and organize programs to promote people-to-people contact in Cuba."

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