The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) blasted the Obama administration on Tuesday for its recent détente with Cuba, demanding that any normalization with the Communist regime be conditioned upon the immediate return of several cop killers currently enjoying asylum there, according to a letter sent to the White House.
The FOP, which represents 330,000 law enforcement officials, called it irresponsible for the Obama administration to pursue diplomacy with Cuba while it is still providing protection to a handful of U.S. fugitives guilty of murdering police officers.
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The FOP "strongly urges" Obama "to reject any changes in our relationship with the Cuban government unless and until the issue of these murderous fugitives is resolved to our satisfaction," the FOP writes. "The blood of American law enforcement officers doing their job on American soil is too high a price to pay for closer ties with the Cuban regime."
"Cuba is still harboring scores of criminals, perhaps the most notorious being Joanne Chesimard, who murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and severely wounded his partner, Trooper James Harper in 1973," the FOP wrote to President Obama, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Chesimard "escaped a maximum security prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she now lives under the protection of the Cuban government as an example of ‘political repression’ in the United States," the FOP wrote. "In addition, Fidel and Raul Castro play host to a least two members of a group called the ‘Republic of New Africa,’ who murdered New Mexican State Trooper Robert Rosenblook in 1972."
"I think we can all agree that no responsible government should harbor and protect anti-police assassins from justice," wrote FOP national president Chuck Canterbury in a letter also sent to Secretary of State John Kerry and several members of Congress.
The White House told the Free Beacon it is pushing for the return of U.S. fugitives in Cuba.
"We will continue to press in our engagement with the Cuban government for the return of U.S. fugitives in Cuba to pursue justice for the victims of their crimes," White House National Security Council (NSC) spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told the Free Beacon.
The FOP is just the latest organization to lash out at the Obama administration for using executive orders to relax the embargo with Cuba and boost diplomatic relations.
Normalization with the Communist regime must be based on its agreement to return these fugitives, the FOP maintains.
"The Fraternal Order of Police believes strongly that before any further ‘normalization’ is considered, the Cuban government must return those who murdered U.S. law enforcement officers and then fled our justice system," they wrote.
"Simply put, we ought not to reward the Cuban policy of providing a safe haven for the murderers of Americans. For this reason, I urge you to condition any changes in our relationship on the surrender of these fugitives."
The FOP has been pushing the issue with the White House since at least 2009, when trade restrictions with Cuba were first relaxed by Obama.
"Over the years, the FOP has consistently opposed any normalization of relations with the communist nation of Cuba until such time as the government extradites to the United States the violent criminals who are protected there by the Cuban government," the group wrote.
The Obama administration should not abandon American values in its desire to open up dialogue with Cuba and its Communist leaders Raul and Fidel Castro, the FOP wrote.
"The American people and the Fraternal Order of Police do not feel that we must compromise our system of justice and the fabric of our society to foreign dictators like Fidel and Raul Castro," the letter states.