New York Post
May 09, 1998


Playing Chesimard with Cuba

                            Recent TV interviews with fugitive Joanne Chesimard
                            offer a reminder to Americans on relations with Cuba.
                            Chesimard is an unrepentant terrorist and murderer
                            who thumbs her nose at the Unites States from the
                            safety of Havana.

                            In the early 1970s, Chesimard was a leader of the
                            Black Panthers - before leaving that radical
                            organization for the more extremist Black Liberation
                            Army. The BLA was responsible for a series of bank
                            robberies, murders and attacks on police officers.

                            In 1973, Chesimard took part in a deadly shootout
                            with state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike. She
                            was accordingly convicted in 1977 of the murder of
                            Trooper Werner Foerster and the severe wounding of
                            Trooper James Harper. In 1979, she escaped from
                            the maximum-security unit at Clinton women's prison,
                            surfacing in Cuba eight years later.

                            Cuba won't return Chesimard to justice. Nor will it
                            return at least 90 other fugitives living in Cuba. Among
                            them are rogue financier Robert Vesco (who actually
                            ended up in one of Castro's jails), and William
                            Morales, the one-fingered bombmaker and leader of
                            the FALN, a Puerto Rican terrorist group. Morales
                            and4the FALN were responsible for at least five
                            deaths in various explosions in Manhattan from 1975
                            to 1982.

                            Cuba was a home for numerous thugs and Mafiosi
                            under the Batista regime, and it continues to play host
                            to American criminals today. This is a fact
                            conveniently forgotten by those who want to normalize
                            relations with Fidel Castro's prison island.

                            Such advocates act as if it is only the objections of
                            embittered and well-organized Cuban exiles in Miami
                            that prevent America from embracing normalization.
                            But Cuba really does deserve pariah status. After all,
                            this is a regime that doesn't just imprison and torture
                            dissidents, but one that deliberately drowned a
                            boatload of refugees in 1994 and dumped its
                            psychopaths and criminals in Florida. It is a state that
                            locked up people with AIDS, and shoots down
                            aircraft in international waters.

                            Such behavior puts Cuba in a category with outlaw
                            states like Libya, Sudan and North Korea.
                            Normalization of relations with Cuba should not even
                            be considered until the Castro regime does the right
                            thing. Returning all the U.S. lawbreakers who have
                            been given sanctuary in Cuba would be a start.