Americans shouldn’t travel to Cuba and participate ‘in the oppression,’ Christie says
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Gov. Chris Christie has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s shift to open relations with Cuba, but now he’s taking aim at people who travel there as tourists.
The governor, speaking during his latest “Tell It Like It Is” town hall in the first presidential primary state of New Hampshire on Thursday, accused U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba amid Obama’s plans to normalize relations with the country of “participating in the oppression” imposed by Cuba’s rulers.
The line was delivered during the event and comes after Christie has criticized Obama for months over his decision to remove Cuba from the federal Department of State’s list of state sponsors of terrorism and normalize relations with the country.
And while the new rules stop short of allowing tourists to visit Cuba, they open the door on other types of authorized travel — including family visits, professional meetings and religious activities.
“If you’re allowed to (travel to Cuba) everybody’s got to make their own free choice,” Christie said. “I’m just giving my opinion on it, which is I don’t know why you would want to support that regime given the way they treat their own people.”
But Christie says people should think twice about venturing to the country that’s been off limits for U.S. citizens for decades.
“How you as an American going to look that person in the eye who is serving you dinner or serving you a drink on the beach, when you know they can’t vote, they can’t speak, they can’t own property – and you’re going to support that?” Christie asked. “I couldn’t do it.”
He added: “Others will have to make their own choice.”
Christie referred to the new relations with Cuba as “an unacceptable offense” to the family of a fallen New Jersey state trooper whose escaped killer, Joanne Chesimard, remains at large on the island nation.
Now known as Assata Shakur, Chesimard was convicted on murder charges in the execution-style killing of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster 42 years ago this month. She later broke out of jail and escaped to Cuba, where the Cuban government employed her as an anti-American propagandist. The Cuban government has been resistant to handing over Chesimard, refusing to return her as recently as this spring.
Christie faulted what he termed Obama’s “failure to require justice” as an affront to Foerster’s family.
“The condition for which Cuba is able to join the rest of the civilized world must rest on the country’s commitment to hand over every terrorist currently being harbored, starting with Joanne Chesimard,” Christie has said.
Continue reading HERE.