Holder on the hot seat: Senators demand answers on U.S. fugitives in Cuba
By S.A. Miller – The Washington Times – Updated: 3:08 p.m. on Friday,
January 23, 2015
A group of Senate Republicans pressed Attorney General Eric H. Holder on
Friday to explain the administration’s policy for U.S. fugitives in
Cuba, including a convicted cop killer, following President Obama’s
announced normalization of relations with the communist island nation.
“As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, do you support the
normalization of relations with Cuba without the return of fugitives
from justice for prosecution who have the blood of Americans, including
law enforcement officers on their hands?” said the three senators in a
letter to Mr. Holder.
The letter was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas
and David Vitter of Louisiana. Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz are Cuban Americans.
The senators demanded information about the number of U.S. criminals
currently harbored by the Castro regime and the indictments against the
fugitives, as well as Mr. Holder’s legal opinion on the plan to remove
Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
They also demanded an explanation of Mr. Holder’s involvement in the
decision to free three convicted Cuban spies, including one convicted of
a murder conspiracy, from U.S. prison and transfer them to Cuba.
Mr. Holder’s office did not immediately respond to the letter or an
inquiry from The Washington Times about it.
Mr. Obama announced on Dec. 17 that he was restoring diplomatic ties
with Cuba, easing financial and travel restrictions on the country,
though stopping short of completely lifting the 54-year-old U.S. embargo
against the country.
The historic easing of tension between the two countries followed a deal
for the release of U.S. aid worker Alan Gross, who had been imprisoned
in Cuba for five years.
As many as 70 fugitives from U.S. justice could be living in Cuba.
Several criminals on the FBI’s Most Wanted List are known to have found
refuge in Cuba.
JoAnne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, fled to Cuba in 1979
after fellow members of the Black Liberation Army broke her out of
prison, where she was serving a life sentence for the execution-style
murder of a New Jersey State Trooper.
Another fugitive in Cuba is Victor Manuel Gerena, an accused cop killer
admitted hijacker. Mr. Gerena and three other members of the Republic of
New Afrika hijacked a jetliner in 1971 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and
flew to Cuba.
“As the facts of these cases show, the actions of the individuals in
question have deprived some Americans of their lives and affected the
lives and well-being of countless others,” the senators wrote.
“Attempting to gloss over the facts of their crimes against the United
States is an insult to the values and ethics of our judicial system and
those same ideals that you, as our nation’s chief law enforcement
officer, are supposed to uphold.”
Source: GOP senators confront Eric Holder on U.S. fugitives in Cuba –
Washington Times –