A bill seeks to promote the extradition of US fugitives in Cuba

A bill seeks to promote the extradition of US fugitives in Cuba

The president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States Senate, Democrat Bob Menéndez, presented this Wednesday a bipartisan bill to promote the immediate extradition of all fugitives from US justice based in Cuba.

The proposal establishes that the United States has as an official policy “the requirement of immediate extradition of all fugitives from justice who currently receive refuge in Cuba to avoid prosecution or confinement for crimes committed in the United States.”

His document calculates that there are currently 70 fugitives on the Island. Among them, Joanne Chesimard, on the FBI’s blacklist of most wanted terrorists for the murder of state agent Werner Foerster in New Jersey in 1973.

Although Chesimard was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison, she escaped from a New Jersey jail on November 2, 1979 and is currently in Cuba. Other claimed fugitives are accused of kidnapping, murder and different drug trafficking offenses.

The bill, baptized Justice for Police Werner Foerster and Frank Connoralso calls on the United States government to engage proactively with the Cuban government and to implement additional measures to ensure that Cuba does not violate its obligations under existing bilateral treaties on extradition.

Although Chesimard was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison, she escaped from a New Jersey jail on November 2, 1979 and is currently in Cuba.

Connor, who also gives the law its name, died along with four other people in an attack committed in 1977 by terrorists from the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), including William Morales, the main bomb maker of that Puerto Rican organization.

The bill began its journey this Wednesday with its presentation. As sources from the Upper House explained to EFE, it would then have to be debated in a legislative meeting and once approved by the committee, it would go to the full Senate to be considered and authorized.

This regulation also requires greater transparency on the total number of US fugitives in Cuba and prohibits the use of any type of foreign assistance for any type of police cooperation in Cuba until the Cuban Executive complies with its international obligations and returns these fugitives.

Influential Senator Menéndez, who was accompanied in his presentation by Republican Marco Rubio, considered “completely unacceptable that the Cuban regime continues to offer refuge to criminals responsible for committing heinous acts in the United States.”

It is completely unacceptable that the Cuban regime continues to offer refuge to criminals responsible for committing heinous acts in the United States, including terrorist attacks.

Menéndez also commented that “it is completely unacceptable that the Cuban regime continues to offer refuge to criminals responsible for committing heinous acts in the United States, including terrorist attacks, assassinations of US police officers, hijacking of planes and arms trafficking.”

He assured that, “as a direct result of the actions of the Cuban regime”, those involved enjoy impunity and the families of the victims have spent decades waiting for a resolution that offers justice for the crimes of the fugitives. The senator considers that the project sends the message that Washington “has not forgotten their suffering” and has this issue as a “top priority” of its policy towards Cuba.

For his part, Marco Rubio added that “this legislation takes an important step by requiring that the Secretary of State and the Attorney General use diplomatic tools to ensure the extradition of all fugitives residing in Cuba to face justice in the United States. Until the regime hands over these fugitives to stand trial in our country’s courts, Cuba should receive no assistance from American taxpayers or relief from sanctions.”

Rubio pointed out that Cuba has not only given refuge to Chesimard, but also to “Guillermo Morales, Charlie Hill, Víctor Manuel Gerena and other criminals responsible for planning and executing violent crimes against Americans.”

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