For the past 18 months, talks between the United States and Cuba have gotten more amicable, which is a far cry from the animosity of the past 50 years. In early 2015, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went on record, asking that Assata Shakur be extradited to the U.S. after she fled to Cuba in 1984 when convicted for her role in the death of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. This week, President Barack Obama made a historic visit to the communist nation, and Christie has once again gone on the offensive, this time demanding that Shakur be returned to the U.S.
Christie penned an op-ed that appeared in The Record and highlighted President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba, using that to reopen the discourse on Shakur, whom he addressed by her birth name, Joanne Chesimard.
For more than three decades, the Cuban government has given safe harbor and refuge to a domestic terrorist – a cop killer who was duly tried and convicted by a jury of her peers, sentenced to imprisonment, and who fled justice rather than pay for her crimes. Every day that she remains at large from justice has been a travesty to her victims’ families and the memory of Trooper Foerster.
Having drawn attention to these restored relations with no less than a presidential trip but without any mention of the fugitives harbored by Cuba, I urge the president to do what common sense and decency requires – that he demand the return of convicted murderer Joanne Chesimard, who stands remorseless and free after the cold-blooded, execution-style killing of a New Jersey State Trooper and the serious wounding of another.
At this time, the White House has yet to respond to Christie’s letter.