Cuba has responded to Donald Trump’s demand to return Assata Shakur to the United States.
Gustavo Machin, the deputy director of American affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said to Yahoo News that he has no intention of returning Joanne Chesimard, better known to many as Assata Shakur, to the United States.
“I can say it is off the table,” Machin said.
Trump made the demand while in Miami, Florida, for his Cuba policy address on Friday. The 45th President of the United States referred to Shakur as a “cop killer,” alluding to her being convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper and escaping from a U.S. prison during the 1970s.
Officials in New Jersey, led by Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Bob Menendez, have called for Shakur’s return before the U.S. goes further with normalizing relations with Cuba. Menendez wrote in a letter last week to Secretary of State John Kerry that Cuba’s decision to provide sanctuary to Shakur “is an intolerable insult to all those who long to see justice served.”
However, Machin said because Cuba granted Shakur political asylum she would not be subjected to extradition to the United States. Machin also voiced his skepticism of the conviction against the black activist, adding “There are very serious doubts about that case. We consider that a politically motivated case against that lady.”