Rep. Frelinghuysen Statement on U.S-Cuba Relations

Alan Gross is Home, Killer of NJ Trooper Remains in Cuban Safe Haven

“We all welcome the release of Alan Gross and his return to his family in the United States,” said Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11). “However, we cannot forget that New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster will never return to his family and Cuba is harboring his killer.”

Mr. Gross’ release came a week after White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that Gross’s continued detainment was an “impediment to more constructive relations between the United States and Cuba.” Media reports indicate that the Obama administration plans to start talks with Cuba on normalizing full diplomatic relations and opening an embassy in Havana.

“To me, the New Jersey law enforcement community and many other Americans, one of the biggest impediments to improved relations between the United States and Cuba is the continued safe haven provided to the fugitive, Joanne Chesimard,” Frelinghuysen said.  “I would demand that the White House and the State Department work much harder to bring this murderer ‘home’ to New Jersey where she can face justice and serve out her sentence.”

Chesimard, was convicted of the 1973 execution-style murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster along the New Jersey Turnpike and sentenced to life in prison.  She escaped from prison in 1979 and eventually fled to Cuba where she has been provided refuge.