U.S. sources say that negotiations are under way to swap a convicted Cuban spy for an escaped cop killer.
The killer is Assata Shakur, who was better known as JoAnne Chesimard when she was a member of what was called the Black Liberation Army in the early 1970s. The revolutionary group was best known for lobbing hand grenades under pursuing New York City police cars.
State police critically wounded the woman in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike early May 2, 1973. Troopers responded after two of their own were gunned down by bullets that came from the car containing Ms. Chesimard.
Trooper Werner Forester died but not before he emptied his service revolve into the vehicle as it pulled south on the highway. A second trooper suffered wounds but survived.
Law officers intercepted the car several miles down the highway, and captured the woman after a brief firefight. Two of her three companions died.
The women is a hero for many black activists and their supporters. She was portrayed as a victim of racial persecution and not a cop killer.
Opinions of Ms. Shakur seem to follow racial lines. She is seen as a hero along with the likes of Harriet Tubman. A documentary has been done on her life. She wrote two books. Various human rights groups call her a political prisoner.
Undergraduates at the City University of New York named a student center for her.
After her conviction she managed to break out of the Clinton Reformatory for
Women and fled to Cuba.
Both NBC and the New York Post say that U.S. diplomats are willing to arrange the swap for Cuban spy Ana Montes, who was an analyst for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency until she was detained in 2001.