Chris Christie Doesn’t Want Flights From New Jersey To Cuba

Filed Under: Travel

As trade agreements between the US and Cuba are slowly liberalized, I suspect Cuba will soon become a tourist hotspot for Americans, given how close it is.

As of now there are no direct, scheduled flights between the US and Cuba, however there are some charter flights. The reason scheduled flights haven’t yet launched is because the two countries need to agree on terms for their air agreements, and like anything involving governments, that’s not a quick process.

Delta has filed a schedule for flights between Atlanta and Havana as of April 2016, though that’s of course still pending government approval. While I’d like to visit Cuba fairly soon, I don’t care all that much which airlines fly between the US and Cuba, as I want to fly there via Montreal on Air China. 😉


In terms of politicking, New Jersey governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie urged the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reject any flights between Newark and Cuba.

Why? Via Fox News:

The Republican governor and presidential candidate sent a letter to the bistate agency Tuesday urging them to reject any regular flight routes between Newark Liberty International Airport and Cuba until Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, is returned to the U.S.

“It is unacceptable to me as Governor to have any flights between New Jersey and Cuba until and unless convicted cop-killer and escaped fugitive Joanne Chesimard is returned to New Jersey to face justice,” Christie wrote in the letter obtained by The Associated Press.

“I will not tolerate rewarding the Cuban government for continuing to harbor a fugitive,” he said.

Chesimard was convicted in 1977 in the death of Trooper Werner Foerster during a gunfight after being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973; she was sentenced to life in prison but escaped and made her way to Cuba, where Fidel Castro granted her asylum.

That’s certainly some interesting grandstanding on his part, as whether or not such rights are granted is outside of his control. And while he can make the argument that the Cuban government is being “rewarded” by adding flights, the reality is that it would boost New Jersey’s economy as well. Passengers will simply connect elsewhere if there are no nonstop flights.

That being said, if he really wants to try and convince the Port Authority of something, maybe he should get Jeff Smisek on the case. I hear he’s looking for work. 😉

Bottom line

I actually think Christie means well here, and I say that as someone who isn’t a huge fan of him. He has a background in law enforcement, so I can imagine this case hit close to home for him. That being said, “urging” something you have no authority over regarding a case which is nearly 40 years old seems like it’s more politically motivated than anything.

What do you make of Christie’s request of the Port Authority?

  1. As a resident of his state, it is the desperate attempt of someone with a 1% polling to try to sound more Conservative than he is so he can get traction in the Presidential race. Not gonna happen. And it shouldn’t. He sucks – and not because he’s not conservative enough. Simly because he’s an asshole.

  2. It is very interesting to see how people want to visit Cuba to give the Cuban government money to enjoy the facilities that the Cuban government stole from US corporations or Cuban Citizens when the Castro brothers took over.

    How is this moral?

  3. This isn’t about a flight into Havana. I bet more people know about this fugitive today than they did last week. Good work Gov, calling attention to a regime that keeps a cop-killer from justice.

  4. Politically aimed or not it’s a worthwhile cause to pursue; it’s naive to think that decades of bad behavior should be written off just because people want to go visit Cuba. Good for Gov for sticking with it.

  5. He was jollier before he stapled his stomach. I’m sure the next Christie outrage will be that abortions are legal in Cuba. Gasp.


  6. Cuba has plenty of Geriatric Europeans going there for sex tourism already.

    So it’s just as well I won’t have to see Enquirer headlines about Christie caught popping Oxycontin+Viagra cocktails while diddling a bunch of teenagers in Cuba.

  7. Cuba remains a totalitarian dictatorship, a human rights violator, an economic disaster, a regime that is hostile to everything America stands for. I see no reason for us to go out of our way to accommodate Cuba while getting nothing in return.

  8. Good, who wants any flights from the US going to communist countries. This whole Oblammba BS is getting old. What’s next flights to Iran…oh…wait…

  9. Christie’s stance in fact shows poor political judgement. No-one cares about his ‘issue’. If he is prepared to become bogged down in issues decades old, not in living memory for many, it shows he is not a suitable candidate for president. Surely the country needs a forward-looking president, not one harbouring grievances from the past!

  10. @glenn t – “Surely the country needs a forward-looking president”

    Surely the country needs a president who is not going to tolerate MURDERING COPS.

  11. Carlos – how is it moral for other countries to authorise flights to a torture-using state that illegally holds people without charge, I.e. the US?

    If you want to make judgements like that I suggest you make sure your own country is “moral” first…

    (I have nothing against the US by the way, I’m currently sitting under the stars in Joshua Tree National Park – merely pointing out the ugly hypocrisy from posters such as these that’s given Americans in general such a bad reputation).

  12. Tom – I’d say it’s economy is doing surprisingly well given the dreadful quasi-global economic blockade imposed on them by the US. And many of the American values it stands against is something the civilised world often joins them on – bankrupting cancer patients springs to mind as an obvious one.

  13. Typical Christy! Doesn’t get his way, so he blocks entry to a bridge or an airport as punishment. When Romney didn’t choose him as VP, he traveled NJ with Obama singing Obama’s praises and denied Romney’s bid to be President. Christy’s standing in the current presidential poll is his just reward.

  14. This is nothing but politics and it is not appropriate for a governor to try to dictate what countries people can fly to from their state. I look forward to the day when this guy is no longer in power.

  15. 1. The argument that the Cuban regime is horrid, so we shouldn’t give them money, doesn’t hold up because we deal and trade and visit many countries whose morals are very low or not as we hold.
    2. Christe is using this to keep his name in the news because his potus campaign is not going well at all.
    3. Trade with Cuba would lead to many jobs in the USA as they will want all services and products that we have.
    4. Tourism should be neutral. You go to have a good time, to experience a different type of life, to get a flavor for the place and people.
    5. Only by having better relations can this fugitive be brought back to jail. He shows that he is inept in negotiations.

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