The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Most Wanted Terrorists list, which was first created in October 2011, has reached a new benchmark by listing its first female terrorist.
Joannee Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, is wanted for the murder of Werner Foerster in 1973. Chesimard was tried and convicted for the slaying, but escaped from prison in 1979 with the help of militants associated with known domestic terror groups.
Foerster was one of two New Jersey state troopers to pull over Chesimard and two others for a traffic violation on the New Jersey Turnpike. A gunfight ensued, and the FBI reports that Chesimard executed Foerster at point-blank range with his own firearm.
Chesimard now lives freely in Havana, Cuba, and legal analysts say the new $2 million bounty and a place on the Most Wanted Terrorists list will have little impact. In fact, some believe it will have negative results by making it even more difficult for the US administration to reclassify Cuba as a more cooperative regime under its new leader, Raul Castro.
By labeling Chesimard a terrorist (which the FBI had technically already done in 2005), it reinforces the perception that Cuba is a nation that supports terrorism. Relations between Cuba and the US have always been strained, but many hoped ties would improve under Raul Castro’s leadership.
Even so, the US State Department has announced plans to remove Cuba from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism. And, while Cuba is under no obligation to deport American fugitives, it has been known to do so in the past and may decide to do so again.
Chesimard is one of only two domestic terrorists on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, the other being Daniel Andreas San Diego. San Diego is an American wanted in connection with two bombings in the San Francisco area in 2003.