Thursday, April 26, 2007


Cuba put a fugitive from American justice on a plane to Miami yesterday. The fugitive, Joseph Adjmi, was arrested at the airport.

From news reports it seems that Adjmi, who was convicted of mail fraud in Tampa but fled to Cuba before he began serving his sentence, had been jailed in Cuba too, “serving an undetermined sentence for unspecified alleged scams apparently similar to the ones he was charged with in Tampa.” When he finished his Cuban sentence, the Cubans apparently decided to be rid of him. There is no indication in news reports that Adjmi was rendered to the United States as the result of a negotiation, or that Cuba asked anything in return.

Adjmi is the second U.S. fugitive returned by Cuba since Fidel Castro left public view last July 31.

Many others remain in Cuba, including cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, who escaped from a New Jersey prison in 1979 and made her way to Cuba in 1986.

Is there anything the U.S. government could do to get Chesimard and others back to the United States?

The 1904 extradition treaty between the United States and Cuba remains in force, but has effectively been a dead letter since 1959. The two countries nonetheless cooperate on specific law enforcement matters, including alien smuggling and drug trafficking. The Bush Administration returned three hijackers to face charges in Cuba in 2003 after receiving Cuban assurances that they would face a maximum sentence of ten years.

In the current state of political relations, it is hard to imagine a breakthrough on important U.S. fugitives. It is impossible to imagine if Washington does not enter talks that might lead to mutual concessions and mutual benefits.

Which is why Joanne Chesimard probably rests easy, unconcerned that her fate will be that if Joseph Adjmi.

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