New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is considering a run for the White House, wrote a letter to President Barack Obama expressing “profound disagreement” with Obama’s plan to thaw the relationship between the United States and Cuba.
“I do not 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 result in a better and more just Cuba for its people,” Christie wrote in the letter, dated Thursday. Christie said U.S. policy on Cuba should not shift until the communist island nation can prove “it is serious about change.”
Christie said in the letter that Cuba could demonstrate a move toward democratic principles by returning Joanne Chesimard, who fled to Cuba after she was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. Obama has instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to review Cuba’s classification as a sponsor of terrorism, but Christie said Cuba should not be removed until Chesimard, who is on the FBI list of most wanted terrorists, is returned to the U.S. “I am very disappointed that returning a convicted killer of a police officer was not already demanded and accomplished in the context of the steps you announced regarding this dictatorship,” Christie wrote to Obama.
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— Elisha Fieldstadt