RE: Cuba Relations – Harboring of Fugitive Cop-Killers (Chesimard)

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March 28, 2017

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

RE: CUBA RELATIONS – HARBORING OF FUGITIVE COP-KILLERS (CHESIMARD)

Dear President Trump:

We at the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey represent the interests of approximately 8,000 NJ Troopers since our founding in 1921, which includes active, retired, deceased, and the Seventy NJ State Troopers who paid the ultimate price of being killed in the line of duty.

There is no doubt that the Castro regime has a long history of repression, despotism and brutality that has forced countless Cubans to seek refuge in the U.S. in search of a better life. We share your view that restoring diplomatic relations without a clear commitment from the Cuban government of the steps they will take to reverse decades of human rights violations will not result in a better and more just Cuba for its people. We believe there is an opportunity for Cuba and its government to show the American people and the citizens of the State of New Jersey, it is serious about change.

The Cuban government has been providing safe haven to convicted murderer Joanne Chesimard, a woman designated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a domestic terrorist, and the first woman ever placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List.

In New Jersey, Joanne Chesimard is notorious for her role in the cold-blooded execution-style killing of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, Badge #2608, and seriously wounding New Jersey State Trooper James Harper, Badge #2108. On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, Clark Squire and Zayd Shakur were pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike by Troopers Foerster and Harper for a motor vehicle violation. Chesimard and both men in the car were armed with semi-automatic handguns, and possessed fictitious identification. During the motor vehicle stop, Chesimard initiated a gun battle, wounding Trooper Harper. In the shootout that followed, Chesimard’s weapon was used to shoot Trooper Foerster in the abdomen and then, as he lay incapacitated on the ground, Trooper Foerster’s own weapon was used against him and he was brutally executed with two bullets to the head.

Chesimard was convicted in 1977 of first-degree murder and a number of other charges stemming from this horrific incident and sentenced to life in prison. Chesimard, aided and abetted by armed accomplices, escaped from a NJ prison in 1979 and has been a fugitive from justice ever since. It is believed that she moved to Cuba in 1984 and has, since that time, lived freely there, attending government functions and being provided with housing, food, transportation and security by the Cuban government.

A long history of bipartisan support exists for the need to bring this convicted murderer back to the United States so she can be made to serve the prison time she was sentenced to more than thirty-seven years ago. A few important points to consider:

  • In 1998, the US. House of Representatives passed Concurrent Resolution 254 by a vote of 371-0 requesting that the Cuban government return Chesimard to the United States;

  • In 1998, the US. Senate passed Concurrent Resolution 254 by unanimous consent requesting that the Cuban government return Chesimard to the United States;

  • In 2005, the Department of Justice approved an increase in the reward for Chesimard’s capture to $1 million; and

  • In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation placed Chesimard on its Most Wanted Terrorist List, designated her as a “domestic terrorist” and increased the reward for her capture to $2 million.

Cuba’s provision of safe harbor to Chesimard by providing political asylum to a convicted cop killer, and her ability to elude justice, is an affront to every resident of our state, our country, and in particular, the men and women of the New Jersey State Police, who have tirelessly tried to bring this killer back to justice.

We urge you to demand the inunediate return of Chesimard before any further consideration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. In addition, there certainly can be no review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism until Joanne Chesimard, a person designated by the FBI as a domestic terrorist, is returned to the United States.

If Cuba is serious about embracing democratic principles then this action would be an essential step. We urge you to engage with the Cuban government to get this resolved, as we are very disappointed with President Obama’s tenure, in that returning a convicted killer of a State Trooper was not already demanded and accomplished in the context of the steps he announced regarding this despotic dictatorship.

The family of her victims, like so many of those who have, and continue to suffer under the Castro regime, deserve this basic human decency before further steps towards Cuba are taken by the U.S.

Enclosed is my written 2015 statement for the House Foreign Affairs Hearing on Human Rights Cuba.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Burgos, President
New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association
President@stfa.org


March 28, 2017

The Honorable Jefferson B. Sessions III
Attorney General of the United States
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

RE: CUBA RELATIONS-HARBORING OF FUGITIVE COP-KILLERS {CHESIMARD)

Dear General Sessions:

We at the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey represent the interests of approximately 8,000 NJ Troopers since our founding in 1921, which includes active, retired, deceased, and the Seventy NJ State Troopers who paid the ultimate price of being killed in the line of duty.

There is no doubt that the Castro regime has a long history of repression, despotism and brutality that has forced countless Cubans to seek refuge in the U.S. in search of a better life. We share your view that restoring diplomatic relations without a clear commitment from the Cuban government of the steps they will take to reverse decades of human rights violations will not result in a better and more just Cuba for its people. We believe there is an opportunity for Cuba and its government to show the American people and the citizens of the State of New Jersey, it is serious about change.

The Cuban government has been providing safe haven to convicted murderer Joanne Chesimard, a woman designated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a domestic terrorist, and the first woman ever placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List.

In New Jersey, Joanne Chesimard is notorious for her role in the cold-blooded execution-style killing of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, Badge #2608, and seriously wounding New Jersey State Trooper James Harper, Badge #2108. On May 2, 1973, Chesimard, Clark Squire and Zayd Shakur were pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike by Troopers Foerster and Harper for a motor vehicle violation. Chesimard and both men in the car were armed with semi-automatic handguns, and possessed fictitious identification. During the motor vehicle stop, Chesimard initiated a gun battle, wounding Trooper Harper. In the shootout that followed, Chesimard’s weapon was used to shoot Trooper Foerster in the abdomen and then, as he lay incapacitated on the gronnd, Trooper Foerster’s own weapon was used against him and he was brutally executed with two bullets to the head.

Chesimard was convicted in 1977 of first-degree murder and a number of other charges stemming from this horrific incident and sentenced to life in prison. Chesimard, aided and abetted by armed accomplices, escaped from a NJ prison in 1979 and has been a fugitive from justice ever since. It is believed that she moved to Cuba in 1984 and has, since that time, lived freely there, attending government functions and being provided with housing, food, transportation and security by the Cuban government.

A long history of bipartisan support exists for the need to bring this convicted murderer back to the United States so she can be made to serve the prison time she was sentenced to more than thirty-seven years ago. A few important points to consider:

  • In 1998, the US. House of Representatives passed Concurrent Resolution 254 by a vote of371-0 requesting that the Cuban government return Chesimard to the United States;

  • In 1998, the US. Senate passed Concurrent Resolution 254 by unanimous consent requesting that the Cuban government return Chesimard to the United States;

  • In 2005, the Department of Justice approved an increase in the reward for Chesimard’s capture to $1 million; and

  • In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation placed Chesimard on its Most Wanted Terrorist List, designated her as a ” domestic terrorist” and increased the reward for her capture to $2 million.

Cuba’s provision of safe harbor to Chesimard by providing political asylum to a convicted cop killer, and her ability to elude justice, is an affront to every resident of our state, our country, and in particular, the men and women of the New Jersey State Police, who have tirelessly tried to bring this killer back to justice.

We urge you work with President Trump to demand the immediate return of Chesimard before any further consideration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. In addition, there certainly can be no review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism until Joanne Chesimard, a person designated by the FBI as a domestic terrorist, is returned to the United States.

If Cuba is serious about embracing democratic principles then this action would be an essential step. We urge you to engage with the Cuban government to get this resolved, as we are very disappointed with President Obama’s administration, in that returning a convicted killer of a State Trooper was not already demanded and accomplished in the context of the steps he announced regarding this despotic dictatorship.

The family of her victims, like so many of those who have, and continue to suffer under the Castro regime, deserve this basic human decency before further steps towards Cuba are taken by the U.S.

Enclosed is my written 2015 statement for the House Foreign Affairs Hearing on Human Rights Cuba.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Burgos, President
New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association
President@stfa.org


STATEMENT
OF
CHRISTOPHER J BURGOS
PRESIDENT
STATE TROOPERS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY, INC.

WRITTEN TESTIMONY
Subcommittee on Global Human Rights
House Foreign Affairs Committee
February 5th2015
Hearing on Human Rights Cuba

Chairman Smith and Members of the Committee,

Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to submit my written testimony concerning Cuba relations and our concerns that Cuba harbors a convicted murderer of a New Jersey State Trooper, and other fugitives of the United States Justice System.

I am a twenty-nine year active veteran enlisted State Trooper with the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). I have been assigned to areas of patrol duties in many areas of our State, and have had the honor to work alongside other State Troopers who lived through the tragic events of May 2nd1973 on the New Jersey Turnpike. I have served as an elected Officer of my Association since 1999, and continue to serve as Association President since January 1st, 2012. In my capacity we have maintained a constant dialog on matters of mutual concern with our elected representatives at all levels. We have shared our experiences and concerns with State Troopers and Highway Patrolman all across the United States, as an active member of the National Troopers Coalition (NTC).

We at the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey (STFA NJ) represent the interests of almost 8,000 New Jersey State Troopers, going back to the founding of the NJSP in 1921, under the leadership and guidance of our first appointed NJSP Superintendent, Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army Colonel at that time.

Our sphere of advocacy includes all active, retired, deceased, and the Sixty­ Seven New Jersey State Troopers who paid the ultimate price of being killed in the line of duty. Part of our mission is to never forget and always remember the sacrifices given on behalf of our Great State and Nation.

The country of Cuba and the Castro regime have a long history of repression of human rights, despotism and brutality that has forced countless Cubans to seek refuge in the United States of America, in search of freedom and a better life. We believe that restoring diplomatic relations, without a clear commitment from the Cuban government of the steps they will take to reverse decades of human rights violations, will not result in a better and more just Cuba for its people.

At this juncture in re-establishing diplomatic relations, we believe there is an opportunity for Cuba and its government to show the American people and the citizens of the State of New Jersey it is serious about change.

The Cuban government has been providing safe haven to a Cop-Killer, convicted murderer Joanne Chesimard, a woman designated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a domestic terrorist, and the first woman ever placed on the FBl’s “Most Wanted” Terrorist List.

In New Jersey, Joanne Chesimard is notorious for her role in the cold­ blooded execution-style · killing of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, Badge #2608, and seriously wounding New Jersey State Trooper James Harper, Badge #2108. On May 2nd 1973, Chesimard, Clark Squire and Zayd Shakur were pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike by Troopers Foerster and Harper for a motor vehicle violation.

Chesimard and both men in the car were armed with semi-automatic handguns, and possessed fictitious identification. During the motor vehicle stop, Chesimard initiated a gun battle, wounding Trooper James Harper.

In the shootout that followed, Chesimard’s weapon was used to shoot Trooper Werner Foerster in the abdomen and then, as he lay incapacitated on the ground, Trooper Foerster’s own weapon was used against him and he was brutally executed with two bullets to the head.

Chesimard was convicted in 1977 of first-degree murder and a number of other charges stemming from this brutally horrific incident and sentenced to life in prison. Chesimard, aided and abetted by armed accomplices, escaped from a New Jersey prison in 1979 and has been a fugitive from justice ever since. It is believed that she moved to Cuba in 1984 and has, since that time, lived freely there, attending government functions and being provided with housing, food, transportation and around the clock security by the Cuban government.

A long history of bipartisan support exists for the need to bring this convicted murderer back to the United States so she can be made to serve the prison time she was sentenced to, more than Thirty-Seven years ago. A few important points to consider:

  • In 1998, the US. House of Representatives passed Concurrent Resolution 254 by a vote of 371-0 requesting that the Cuban government return Chesimard to the United States;
  • In 1998, the US. Senate passed Concurrent Resolution 254 by unanimous consent requesting that the Cuban government return Chesimard to the United States;
  • In 2005, the Department of Justice approved an increase in the reward for Chesimard’s capture to $1 million; and
  • In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation placed Chesimard on its Most Wanted Terrorist List, designated her as a “domestic terrorist” and increased the reward for her capture to $2 million, which stands to this day

Cuba’s provision of safe harbor to Chesimard by providing political asylum to a convicted cop killer, and her ability to elude justice, is an affront to every resident of our state, our country, and in particular, the men and women of the New Jersey State Police, who have tirelessly tried to bring this fugitive back to justice.

We urge you to demand and include the immediate return of Chesimard before any further consideration of restoration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. In addition, there certainly can be no review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism until Joanne Chesimard, a person designated by the FBI as a domestic terrorist, is returned to the United States of America.

If, as the White House asserts, Cuba is serious about embracing democratic principles then this action would be an essential first step. We ask to use this opportunity to engage with the Cuban government to get this resolved. We are shocked and very disappointed that returning a convicted killer of a State

Trooper was not already demanded and accomplished in the context of the steps announced by the White House regarding this despotic dictatorship.

In closing, the family of her victims, like so many of those who have, and continue to suffer under the Castro regime in Cuba, deserve this basic human decency before further steps towards Cuba are taken by the United States of America.

Thank you once again for allowing us to submit this written testimony to the Committee for consideration and inclusion in the record.

RE: Cuba Relations – Harboring of Fugitive Cop-Killers (Chesimard)