Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Very Strange U.S.-Cuban Development!

Even By U.S.-Cuban Standards!
Updated: Monday, May 6th
        Joanne Deborah Chesimard is now 65-years-old and she has lived openly in Cuba since 1984.
Joanne Deborah Chesimard is the godmother of the late famed rapper Tupac Shakur.
          This past Thursday Joanne Deborah Chesimard became the first woman to be put on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list. Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, was convicted in 1977 of the murder of Trooper Werner Foerster, which occurred on May 2, 1973. She was in a car on the New Jersey Turnpike driven by Clark Squire when the auto was pulled over by Werner Foerster and another state trooper.
       The state trooper Werner Foerster, as well as a male passenger in Chesimard's car, were killed in a shoot-out. Chesimard and Squire were sentenced to life in prison in 1977. Chesimard escaped in 1979.
      On Thursday, May 2nd, 2013, the FBI made history by making Joanne Chesimard the first woman put on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list. The FBI and the State of New Jersey are offering a $2 million reward "for information leading to the safe return of Joanne Chesimard" to the United States so the now 65-year-old Chesimard can finish serving out her term. Cuba believes she did not receive a fair trial.
        William Kunsler, the famed civil rights attorney who died in New York City at age 76 in 1995, represented Joanne Chesimard at her trial in 1977. She was one of many clients that earned Kunstler the sobriquet as "The Most Hated Lawyer In America." Kunsler vociferously admitted that Chesimard was a member of the Black Liberation Army but adamantly claimed she did not murder trooper Foerster in 1973.
        As a young lawyer Ron Kuby worked with William Kunsler and to this day Kuby insists Chesimard "did not get a fair trial." Kuby thinks she was in the wrong car at the wrong time on the wrong highway.
       Many are left to wonder why in the wide wonderful world of U. S. - Cuban relations would Tupac Shakur's aunt and godmother Joanne Chesimard suddenly be named the FBI's "Most Wanted Woman" with a huge $2 million reward posted for information leading to her return from Cuba to the U. S. so, at age 65, she could resume serving her life sentence in New Jersey??? After all, the shoot-out on the New Jersey Turnpike took place in 1973, her trial was in 1977, her escape from prison was in 1979, and it is well known that she has lived in Cuba since 1984! So, why now! Has a fresh self-serving reason surfaced? Let's see....! 
      With John Kerry taking over as President Barack Obama's new Secretary of State, many expected the first week of May-2013 to see Cuba removed from the State Department's Sponsors of Terrorism list. After all, during his long-time stint in the U. S. Senate, Mr. Kerry had often defied the ultra-powerful Cuban-exile lobby when it came to Cuban issues, one of which is Cuba remaining as the oldest member {since 1982} on the State Department's very short {four total members} State Sponsors of Terrorism list. But in the first week of May-2013 Secretary Kerry left Cuba on the list that most unbiased observers strongly believe is merely to appease the visceral Cuban-exile lobby. Thus, this question may be in order: Was the loud rehashing of the Joanne Chesimard case a coincidence or did it resurface at this late date as a justification for the State Department's ongoing inclusion of Cuba on the Sponsors of Terrorism list?
      Cubana Flight 455 {actual airplane above} is a constant historical and topical reminder throughout the Caribbean and Latin America that Cuba is and has been a victim of  but not a sponsor of terrorism.
       On October 6, 1976, Cubana Flight 455 was blown out of the sky into an unforgiving ocean by a terrorist bomb. {Image from Capitan San Luis} All 73 passengers, including two dozen teenage athletes, were killed.
       The two most famed Cuban-exile extremists -- the late Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles -- are generally connected by history and by de-classified U. S. documents {see Peter Kornbluh's U.S. National Archives site} to the bombing of Cubana Flight 455 and many other anti-Cuban terrorist acts.
      To this day Cubana Flight 455 memorials such as the one above are ubiquitous across the Caribbean (Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, etc.) as are ongoing questions regarding why Miami is allowed to be a safe haven for both accused and avowed anti-Cuban terrorists. Are such questions valid and appropriate?
        Cuban-American Emilio Milian was the top-rated newscaster in Miami {at WQBA} when he aired one broadcast too many about Cuban-American terrorists going unpunished in his adopted city.
That's Emilio Milian in his station's parking lot after a car-bomb blew off both of his legs at the hips.
        Jim DeFede was the top columnist at the Miami Herald, at least until he wrote a blistering column entitled "Terrorism Is Terrorism Whether..." in which he excoriated both the city of Miami as a sanctuary for anti-Cuban terrorists and the top Cuban-American politicians in Miami {and Washington} -- especially Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers -- for supporting the terrorists.
      Just last week -- on the one-year anniversary of having her thriving airlines business bombed out of existence in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables -- Vivian Mannerud wrote a very long and very sad statement about her experience with terrorism. She attributes the bombing to the very legal passenger flights her airline was making to and from the nearby island of Cuba. In her statement Ms. Mannerud alluded to Miami's long history of harboring as opposed to prosecuting such terrorism. She referenced her belief that even the FBI had some clues pertaining to the crime -- including a photo of a suspicious car she believes might have been involved -- but was not following up on it as far as she knew. Thus, Vivian Mannerud and her (bombed out) former business join a very, very long victims list.
      Back in the 1830s French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote that Democracy in America was the greatest form of government ever devised by man. In the year 2013 it still is. But, in retrospect, there are now a few caveats, such as: (1) de-Tocqueville's beloved grandfather had been guillotined during the French Revolution; and (2) so was Democracy in America by the Cuban Revolution.
    The Cuban Revolution way back in the 1950s guillotined the U. S. democracy in two primary ways: (1) The U. S. democracy should not have teamed with the Mafia to support the brutal-thieving Batista dictatorship on the island of Cuba; and (2) after the astonishing overthrow of the Batista dictatorship by the Cuban Revolution, the U. S. should not have permitted the immediate and seemingly eternal reconstitution of that dictatorship on U. S. soil -- namely the renowned Mafia havens of Miami, Florida, and Union City, New Jersey.
       Thus, in 2013 perhaps we should forgive the American school-girl above for freely expressing her definition of "Democracy." I believe she is mocking Americans for their failure to defend it. And she should.
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