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
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.