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Critics blast Obama’s trip to Cuba amid human-rights abuses

Critics blast Obama’s trip to Cuba amid human-rights abuses
By Marisa Schultz March 21, 2016 | 12:25am
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WASHINGTON — The White House refused to say Sunday whether
Obama would be talking to Cuban officials about US fugitives who have
found a refuge there, but critics blasted the historic trip Sunday for
rewarding Cuba while convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard remains free
and President ’s human-rights abuses have worsened.

The White House declined to go into detail Sunday but said the fugitive
issue is one “of long-standing concern to the United States that will be
addressed in the broader context of normalizing relations between the
United States and Cuba.”

Critics, led by New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, blasted Obama.

“The simple truth is, deals with the devil require the devil to deal,”
Menendez said in advance of the visit.

Chesimard, 68, once a member of the Black Liberation , has been
given asylum in the country since her conviction for the 1973 murder of
State Trooper Werner Foerster during a shootout on the New Jersey
Turnpike. Reached Sunday, Foerster’s widow declined to comment on
Obama’s visit.

Chesimard, who changed her name to Assata Shakur — and who is the aunt
of slain rapper Tupac Shakur — escaped in 1979 with the help of
other Black nationalists, and has lived in Cuba since 1984, despite a $2
 million bounty offered by the FBI and Jersey State cops.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump tweeted out a critique of Obama’s
handling of relations with Cuba.

“Wow, President Obama just landed in Cuba, a big deal, and Raul Castro
wasn’t even there to greet him. He greeted Pope and others,” Trump
tweeted Sunday. “No respect.”

Obama told Yahoo News in December that he’d like to go to Cuba when
there’s “progress in the liberty and and possibilities of
ordinary Cubans” and he could meet with pro-democracy dissidents.

Critics believe conditions in Cuba are terrible and Obama is too focused
on making a legacy-defining trip rather than demanding improvements.

“President Obama promised to extend a hand to dictators if they were
willing to un-clench their fists — that has not happened in Cuba,” said
Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant
who found freedom in America, blasted Obama for forgetting about the
“political prisoners languishing in dungeons across the island.”

“This is why it is so sad, and so injurious to our future as well as
Cuba’s, that Obama has chosen to legitimize the corrupt and oppressive
Castro regime with his presence on the island,” Cruz wrote in a column
for Politico.

Source: Critics blast Obama’s trip to Cuba amid human-rights abuses |
New York Post –
nypost.com/2016/03/21/critics-challenge-obamas-trip-as-cuba-houses-american-criminals/

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