According to news reports, the U.S. and Cuba will be opening embassies later this month. We even heard a rumor that President Obama may travel to Havana to cut the ribbon.
Will Joanne attend the ribbon cutting ceremony?
We are talking about Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive from U.S. law enjoying life in the tropics as a special guest of the Castros:
It was a murder on the New Jersey Turnpike – stunning violence near the New Brunswick exit.
Now, decades after Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard was sentenced for the 1973 killing of a state trooper, escaped prison, and surfaced in Cuba in 1984, she is first and foremost among the estimated 70 American fugitives harbored there whose apparent flouting of U.S. law is fuel for critics of recent efforts to restore U.S.-Cuba relations.
In December, 54 years after America severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, Presidents Obama and Raul Castro proposed a renewal of ties.
“We view any changes in relations with Cuba as an opportunity to bring [Chesimard] back,” said New Jersey State Police Col. Rick Fuentes, “and stand by the reward” for her capture.
However, the Cuban government has not been making any concessions, from repression of dissidents to opening up Cuba’s economy.
In fact, The Washington Post points out that repression is getting worse in Cuba:
Since December, there have been more than 3,000 political detentions in Cuba, including 641 in May and 220 on Sunday alone, according to dissident sources. Most were accompanied by beatings; at least 20 detainees required medical treatment in May. After Cuba was invited for the first time to the Summit of the Americas in Panama, regime thugs attacked the civil society activists who also showed up.
I guess that the “hope and change” memo did not get to Raúl Castro. Or maybe Raúl understood that “yes we can” meant that he could go on like before.
The Chesimard issue is a disgrace.
President Obama should tell Raúl Castro that talks will be put on hold until Chesimard is on a plane to New Jersey.
He should also say that the U.S. is not paying reparations or giving up Guantánamo, as the Castro thugs are demanding publicly.
Am I the only one who would love to see a little spine from the U.S. delegation? It’s a joke to watch the U.S. get pushed around by a dictator on his knees now that Venezuela can’t subsidize him anymore.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.