Opinion: My father’s killer roams free in Cuba, harbored by Mr. Obama’s new friends

With much fanfare, the U.S. embassy in Havana opened for the first time in 54 years. Instead of Kerry demanding Cuba returns fugitives from American justice, the Obama administration unilaterally handed legitimacy and the hard currency of international acceptance to a regime that has sponsored terrorists for half a century and even today harbors convicted terrorist fugitives including BLA cop killer Joanne Chesimard and William Morales. Morales' Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN) murdered my father Frank Connor.

In a parallel capitulation halfway across the globe, instead of ensuring Iran never attains nuclear weapons, the same John Kerry is concerned that Iran, the world's largest exporter of terrorism, would not trust the U.S. if Congress does its job and rejects the Obama administration's insidious nuclear surrender.

If not rejected by Congress, this deal hands Iran some $150 billion, guarantees Iranian production of a nuclear arsenal within a decade, ensures unobstructed development of missile systems to deliver those weapons while disgracefully leaves four American hostages behind in Iranian prisons.

if Obama is bent on growing our relationship with terrorist regimes, he must get these killers back in U.S. prisons to pay their debt to society. Clemency to these fugitives, as was provided to Morales’ comrades and has been rumored again, is no option.

— Joe Connor

Even as this “negotiation” was being finalized, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei doubled down on his "Death to America, Death to Israel" promise. Kerry's insistence that Iran and the U.S. must have mutual trust to make this deal work signifies that this administration trusts Iran. In other words, we surrendered to a regime we trust to kill us.

Meanwhile, 90 miles from our shores, the treacherous Cuban supreme leaders, the Castro brothers who threatened the U.S. with nuclear weapons in 1962, declared the establishment of relations with Cuba will not change their oppressive Marxist regime's behavior. As a matter of fact, they doubled down on oppression by arresting hundreds of human rights demonstrators this week, demanded the U.S. pay millions of dollars in reparations for the trade embargo and remain the safe haven for fugitives from American justice, including Morales.

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William Morales was the chief bomb-maker and one of the leaders of the clandestine Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN, one of the most prolific terrorist organizations ever to wage war against the United States.

Between 1974 and 1983, the FALN claimed responsibility for over 130 bombings in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including the premeditated attack lunchtime attack on Fraunces Tavern that claimed the lives of four innocent men, including my 33-year-old father.

As chief bomb-maker, 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 other radicals.

During the state trial, he 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 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, where he continues to live as a guest of the Castro regime.

Between 1981 and 1983, 16 core members of the FALN and Los Macheteros, a related group, were arrested, tried, 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.

My communications continue to this day with regular meetings with the NYPD’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

As recently as 2012, the Department of State wrote to Rep. Peter King, “We have expressed the strong US desire that they (Morales and convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard) and other fugitives be returned to the United States to face prosecution or resume serving their sentences. The Department of State will continue to press this issue.”

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.

Though I strongly disagree with today’s events in Havana, if Obama is bent on growing our relationship with terrorist regimes, he must get these killers back in U.S. prisons to pay their debt to society. Clemency to these fugitives, as was provided to Morales’ comrades and has been rumored again, 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. We still have the chance to bring justice to one of the conspirators.

My mother, Mary, told me recently she always hoped she would live long enough to see Morales brought to justice. Let’s make that happen.