OPINION

Opinion: It is clear Cuba is getting the better of the bargain in so-called 'negotiations'

Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas on April 11, 2015.

Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas on April 11, 2015.  (ap)

A year after the Obama Administration began its "negotiations" to restore diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba, it is clear Cuba is getting the better of the bargain.

Just yesterday, U.S. officials announced an agreement that would allow dozens of direct flights between U.S. cities and Cuba, potentially funneling millions of American tourist dollars into the repressive Marxist state. These are millions of dollars that would otherwise stay in the U.S. or go to other Caribbean nations, many of whom have been loyal American allies. 

Instead, we plan to inject Cuba with an abundant supply of hard currency, effectively giving a transfusion into the dying economy of a country that has been our enemy for more than half a century. 

This government fights no war on terrorism. It falls all over itself to release or trade Islamic terrorist detainees from our Guantanamo Bay, Cuba facility, and allows convicted terrorists like Morales and Chesimard to remain in Cuba.

- Joe Connor

In addition to its well documented history of antagonism against the U.S., for decades the murderous Castro regime has provided safe harbor to convicted terrorist bomber William Morales and BLA cop killer Joanne Chesimard and others among the 70 U.S. fugitives currently in Cuba.

Morales was the chief bomb-maker and one of the leaders of the clandestine Puerto Rican terrorist group, Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN), one of the most prolific terrorist organizations ever to wage war against the United States. 

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Between 1974 and 1983, the FALN claimed responsibility for over 130 bombings that killed  6 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including the premeditated bombing of New York’s historic Fraunces Tavern. My 33-year-old father Frank Connor was murdered in cold blood in that calculated, savage attack.

Morales most certainly built the sinister device that killed our father the very day our family was set to celebrate my 9th and my brother’s 11th birthday. 

Ironically, on what would have been my dad’s 37th birthday, July 12, 1978, Morales blew the fingers off of both his hands and part of his face when a bomb he was crafting exploded in his bomb factory in Queens.

Morales was captured, tried and convicted in federal and state courts and sentenced in 1979 to up to 99 years in prison but escaped from Bellevue prison hospital with the assistance of white radicals who called themselves the Revolutionary Armed Task Force. 

During the state trial Morales had boasted, “No jail is going to hold me forever. They can put 1,000 of us in jail. They are not going to hold us forever. That’s what I have to say.”

Through a FALN investigation run by the Chicago Terrorist Task Force, Morales was eventually located in Puebla, Mexico, in 1983. When the Mexican police closed in, he and an accomplice killed a Mexican police officer. Morales was arrested and charged with being an accessory to murder. Despite the Reagan administration’s request for extradition, the sympathetic Mexican government sent him to Cuba in 1988.

Between 1981 and 1983, 16 core members of the FALN and Los Macheteros, a related group, were arrested, convicted and sentenced to long and well-deserved sentences. Despite my regular communications with the Clinton departments of State and Justice beginning in the early 1990s, demanding the return of Morales, in 1999 President Clinton with the cover of then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, infamously granted clemency to 16 unrepentant FALN and Machetero comrades.

Now President Obama and U.S. government officials blather about fighting a war on terror yet they ignore bringing justice to convicted terrorists like Morales and Chesimard.

This government fights no war on terrorism. It falls all over itself to release or trade Islamic terrorist detainees from our Guantanamo Bay, Cuba facility, and allows convicted terrorists like Morales and Chesimard to remain in Cuba. Our family is directly affected by both failures as our father’s godson, my cousin, Steve Schlag was murdered on 9/11 as I witnessed the attacks from my nearby office window having just commuted through the World Trade Center.

Americans must be aware of what is at stake here. We cannot allow Obama to needlessly give away our safety and prestige, receiving nothing in return. If they are serious about winning a war on terror, I ask President Obama, Cuban-American presidential candidates Cruz and Rubio and the other Democrat and Republican candidates, including Hillary Clinton, to join with me in publicly demanding and securing these fugitives return and imprisonment. 

Clemency to these fugitives, as was provided to Morales’ comrades by the Clintons and has been rumored as a possibility, is no option.

My father’s life and untimely death in the name of an illegitimate “political” cause has haunted my family for over 40 years. Now we have the chance to bring justice to one of the conspirators while furthering our war on terrorists.

My mother Mary told me last Christmas she always hoped she would live long enough to see Morales brought to justice. 

This is our chance to grant her that wish. 

Joe Connor conceived of and co-authored The New Founders, testified at Eric Holder's AG confirmation hearing, contributed to Citizens United's Hillary the Movie and writes on wewinamerica.com. He works in New York's financial service industry.

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