N.J. State Police: ‘Going to Cuba? Watch out for cop killers’

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NJ.com

Highlighting lingering tensions in the United States’ fraught relationship with Cuba, the head of the New Jersey State Police on Thursday released a video warning potential tourists to be on the lookout for terrorists the island nation is harboring.

“As a matter of public safety, I believe that all those considering travel to Cuba need to be aware that four dangerous fugitive terrorists are living free and protected on the island,” Fuentes said.

The message, tied to President Barack Obama’s planned trip to Cuba, is the latest effort in Fuentes’ campaign for the return of Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted for the 1973 killing of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster but later escaped prison and fled to Cuba.

Fuentes said that Chesimard — along with other wanted fugitives Charles Hill, William Guillermo Morales and Victor Manuel Gerena — were collectively tied to groups responsible for “the deaths of 17 police officers, five American civilians, two members of the U.S. military and a string of 159 bombings.”

In a sternly-worded editorial published in the Miami Herald, Fuentes also warned of wanted terrorists who “roam the island freely and are still dangerous revolutionaries, disenchanted about all things American.”

“Tourists to Cuba, please be careful,” the colonel wrote. “You are not dignitaries with security teams, or part of a pampered and propagandized political delegation fattened and flattered by the type of cuisine and accommodations most Cubans can only dream about.”

Chesimard, who goes by Assata Shakur and holds asylum status in Cuba, is also featured prominently on an advisory message posted on the State Police website this week warning would-be visitors that Cuba is home to several people wanted by the FBI.

Chesimard is New Jersey’s most wanted fugitive, with a $2 million bounty offered for information leading to her capture.

The message came as Obama is preparing for an historic visit to Cuba on March 21-22, as the two countries seek to restore diplomatic relations.

News of Obama’s visit drew sharp criticism from U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, the two Cuban-Americans in New Jersey’s congressional delegation, who oppose the Obama administration’s discussions with the regime of brothers Raul and Fidel Castro.

Fuentes, Menendez and Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, have all called for Chesimard’s return to the U.S. as part of the negotiations to resume travel and trade with Cuba.

Supporters of Chesimard, who have long maintained her innocence, claims she was set up and did not fire the shots that killed Foerster. She has maintained renown while in exile in some circles, where she is considered an escaped political prisoner from the black nationalist movement.

2 thoughts on “N.J. State Police: ‘Going to Cuba? Watch out for cop killers’

  1. Joanne Chesimard and William Morales will not kill US visitors to Cuba whomever they see. Instead, if Obama’s marine guard sees Morales by surprise they will handcuff him and send him to Puerto Rico.

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