Gustavo Machin, a representative of the Cuban government, told Yahoo news that the return of Joanne Chesimard also known as Assata Shakur was “off the table.”
While a member of the Black Liberation Army, Shakur, then Joanne Chesimard, was involved in an incident in which New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster was shot during a traffic stop. She was convicted in 1977 but managed to escape prison. Shakur has since fled to Cuba, where she has remained in sanctuary even as she retained her spot on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
In December, when President Obama announced a new era of thawed relations with Cuba, after fifty years of isolation, Shakur’s case regained the national spotlight, with several top conservatives, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez calling for Cuba to hand her over. They and other officials have asked for Shakur’s return to be a requirement of renewed diplomatic ties between the two countries.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Menendez said that Cuba’s refusal to return the now 67-year-old Shakur “is an intolerable insult to all those who long to see justice served.”