Before we even got out of the gate, the Cubans were saying that giving up convicted terrorist and cop killer Joanne Chesimard was a non-starter because they have the right to protect persecuted fugitives who seek asylum. (And here I was worried that this might not work out…) But even if the Castros won’t surrender her peacefully, is it possible that we might just be able to grab her once we have more of an official presence in Havana? If so, some of the regular citizens might be willing to pitch in and help, particularly if there’s a couple million bucks in the deal for them.
Cop-killer Joanne Chesimard may hold a special place in Fidel Castro’s heart — but ordinary Cubans eyeing a $2 million reward would rat her out in a heartbeat, several told The Post.
“A Cuban would sell out his mother for that kind of money. Money is what talks,” declared Carlos, a Havana merchant.
“A Cuban will sell you out for 5 pesos. Imagine $2 million,” added Juan, a hotel worker in the capital.
I’m not sure where the balance of reaction falls on these interviews. Are we encouraged that some of the regular folks on the street might help us or discouraged that they so casually admit that they’ll hand over their own mom for a fistful of dollars? Either way, the point may be moot. Assuming the reporters did any sort of competent job while investigating this, nobody seems to know where she is.
Frank, a cabdriver, told The Post that plenty of his countrymen would turn in Chesimard — who is also known as Assata Shakur, and is the aunt of the late rapper Tupac Shakur.
“There are a lot of dissidents that live here that would. I’m not surprised that’s she being hidden,” he said.
One local named Nelson was so interested when told about Chesimard and the bounty on her head he started his own search.
A day later he told The Post: “I spoke to many people. No one knows where she is. Only people high up in government know.”
For some reason I had been under the impression that Chesimard was just blending into the population and living in the community with the rest of the Cubans. If this information is accurate, it could mean that either she is doing just that, but has disguised her new identity amazingly well and kept one heck of a secret for decades. It could also mean that she’s living under the direct control and support of the government in some elite enclave to avoid the risk of having her wandering around on the streets. Either way, extracting her could be more complicated than it first seemed.
Of course, our intelligence community may very well already know exactly where she is and how to reach her, but simply hasn’t had a safe and productive method of getting her out alive without leaving an even larger disaster in their wake. If that’s the case, perhaps a new, more open era could present some opportunities along these lines. It’s worth crossing our fingers for, because this one has been in the wind for far too long.