On June 16th, 2017 in a speech announcing new restrictions to Cuba, the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump called for the deportation of Tupac Shakur’s aunt, Assata Shakur alias Joanne Chesimard. “To the Cuban Government, I say put an end to the abuse of distance,” He said, “Release the Political prisoners. Return the fugitives from American justice! Including the return of the Cop killer Joanne Chesimard! “

But just who is Assata Shakur? And why does she get the goat of the American authorities?
Assata Olugbala Shakur whose real name is Joanne Deborah Byron is an African American activist who was convicted of Murder in 1977. In the wee hours of 2 May 1973, Assata got pulled over by state troopers for allegedly driving with a broken rearlight. She had company in the car, namely Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundata Acoli who were both members of the Black Liberation Army. Moments after being pulled over, all her companions in the car had been shot dead, while Shakur was nursing gunshot injuries. A state trooper Werner Foerster was killed in the incident, leading to the arrest and eventual conviction of Shakur on murder and six counts of assault charges. Shakur was sentenced to life imprisonment before finally escaping in 1979, with help from the Black Liberation Army.
Assata Shakur

In 1984, she fled to Cuba and was granted Political asylum by Fidel Castro. After her daring escape, she achieved cult hero status amongst Blacks in the United Sates as she became an outspoken critic of racism and inequality in the U.S. On May 2nd, 2013 and on the 40th anniversary of her arrest, the FBI announced that they had added Assata Shakur to the Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorist list. This essentially made her the only female to reach this criminal height. The reward for her capture was pegged at $ 2 million. This was quite ironical because the list majorly contained Bombers and international kidnappers. Given the frosty relationship between Cuba and America over the years, it is highly unlikely that Cuba will be willing to return Assata to US soil. Firstly, Cuba and America do not have an extradition treaty. But if the US were to pressure Cuba for Shakur, Cuba would likely counter with a similar request for a high ranking fugitive of its own. Bringing her would work to show that the law has had its day, however, it would not be beneficial to the U.S since she is of little intelligence value.

 Cuba has continued to provide refuge to lots of African Americans wanted for political crimes. Handing Shakur to the U.S would be a betrayal of the country’s relationship with the African American community.

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