Governor Christie to Obama: Demand Cuba's Return of Harbored Terrorist Immediately

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Governor Christie Letter to President Obama: Demand Cuba Return Fugitive NJ Cop Killer Immediately

Christie Urges Action Now Before Any Further Consideration of Restoration of Diplomatic Relations With Cuba

On Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sent President Obama a letter and engaged the White House urging the president to demand the Cuban government immediately return convicted cop-killer and escaped fugitive Joanne Chesimard to New Jersey to face justice before any further consideration of normalized relations with the Cuban government is made.   The White House remains silent on what steps, if any, will be taken on this matter.

Chesimard is a convicted cop killer who executed New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973 before escaping from prison and fleeing to Cuba, and has been provided safe heaven by the government there ever since. She is designated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a domestic terrorist and the first woman ever placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List.

In the letter, Governor Christie made clear he does not share the President’s view that restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba is the right move, but made the case for using this as an opportunity for Cuba and its government to show it is serious about change:

I do not share your view that restoring diplomatic relations without a clear commitment from the Cuban government of the steps they will take to reverse decades of human rights violations will result in a better and more just Cuba for its people.

However, despite my profound disagreement with this decision, I believe there is an opportunity for Cuba and its government to show the American people it is serious about change...

Cuba’s provision of safe harbor to Chesimard by providing political asylum to a convicted cop killer, and her ability to elude justice, is an affront to every resident of our state, our country, and in particular, the men and women of the New Jersey State Police, who have tirelessly tried to bring this killer back to justice.  I urge you to demand the immediate return of Chesimard before any further consideration of restoration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban Government...

If, as you assert, Cuba is serious about embracing democratic principles then this action would be an essential first step.  I ask you to use this opportunity to engage with the Cuban government to get this resolved, and I am very disappointed that returning a convicted killer of a police officer was not already demanded and accomplished in the context of the steps you announced regarding this dictatorship.

The family of her victims, like so many of those who have, and continue to suffer under the Castro regime, deserve this basic decency before further steps toward Cuba are taken by this government.

Read full letter below (or click here):

President Obama Ltr - Joanne Chesimard