"Every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted. … That’s a legitimate right," AP quotes Cuba’s head of North American affairs, Josefina Vidal as saying.
"We've explained to the US government in the past that there are some people living in Cuba to whom Cuba has legitimately granted political asylum," she added. "There is no extradition treaty in effect between Cuba and the US,"
The issue is on the table after a recent thaw in the bilateral relations between the countries.
This particularly concerns black activist Assata Shakur, also known under the name JoAnne Chesimard, who is responsible for killing an American police officer in 1973.
"JoAnne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style," FBI special agent Aaron Fond said. “We will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice," he added.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has urged President Barack Obama to demand the return of the fugitive before full relations may be restored.
Josefina Vidal said that Cuba’s position is to ask for the US to return people wanted in Cuba as a reciprocal gesture.
"We've reminded the US government that in its country they’ve given shelter to dozens and dozens of Cuban citizens," she said. "Some of them are accused of horrible crimes; some are accused of terrorism, murder and kidnapping, and in every case the US government has decided to welcome them."
Vidal, however, reiterated that Cuba is open to all of Obama’s moves to improve relations and strengthen private enterprise and civil society on the island.