Banning Flights To Cuba Could Hurt NJ’s Economy, Official Says

NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey State Senator Brian Stack has come out in favor of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s stance to reject any efforts to launch flight services between Newark and Cuba until a fugitive accused of killing a state trooper is returned to the United States.

“A thousand percent against any normalization of relationships with Cuba as long as the Castro brother’s are in charge,” Stack said.

Stack, who also serves as mayor of Union City — where the population is largely Cuban-American — understands why flight service is desired, but said he “doesn’t see normalization” with Cuba’s current regime, who he said “murdered Cubans over the years, just for speaking out,” WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski agrees that returning Chesimard to New Jersey should be of priority, but denying flights to Cuba may have economic repercussions for the state.

“Those flights would go out of another airport and our region would lose that economic advantage,” Wisniewski said. “I’m not sure than is in the long-term interest of anyone in the region.”

Wisiniewski said that he supports going after Chesimard though diplomacy, but that discussion should be separate from resuming flights to Cuba.

Christie is calling for the return of Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted in 1977 for the death of Trooper Werner Foerster during a gunfight in New Jersey in 1973. Chesimard was sentenced to life in prison, but escaped to Cuba, where Fidel Castro granted her asylum.

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