By Paul Milo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Cuba will not turn fugitive Joanne Chesimard over to the United States, where she was convicted of the 1973 killing a New Jersey state trooper, a Cuban government representative told Yahoo News.
The official, Gustavo Machin, told Yahoo that the subject is “off the table” despite calls from Garden State lawmakers including Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) demanding the return of the 67-year-old Chesimard, who remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
While a member of a radical group, the Black Liberation Army, Chesimard and two others gunned down Trooper Werner Foerster during a traffic stop. Two years after her 1977 conviction, Chesimard escaped from prison and fled to Cuba, which has been providing her sanctuary ever since.
Chesimard’s case gained renewed interest in December, when President Obama announced a thawing of relations with one of the world’s last remaining communist nations. But amid the fanfare immediately following Obama’s announcement, the State Police and elected officials demanded Chesimard be turned over as a condition of any change in status between the two countries. Diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States were largely severed a half-century ago following a communist uprising led by Fidel Castro.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week, Menendez said refusing to hand over Chesimard is “is an intolerable insult to all those who long to see justice served.”
Editor’s Note: Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Gustavo Machin was thrown out of the US in retaliation for the Ana Belen Montes spy case.