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Black Liberation Army

The Black Liberation Army (BLA) was created in the early 1970s to take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United States. THE BLA engaged in murders, bank robberies, kidnappings, racketeering, possession of explosives, and weapons smuggling. From 1970 to 1984, the BLA was involved in at least 38 criminal incidents, including 26 armed assaults, 3 assassinations, 4 bombings, and 4 hijackings and hostage takings. Almost half of these attacks took place in predominantly African American neighborhoods and targeted law enforcement officers without regard to their race.

The last fugitive from the 1981 Brinks robbery, which left two police officers and a guard dead, lived in Havana as a political fugitive, where she continued to call for black separatism in the United States. Cheri Laverne Dalton, who now called herself Nehanda Obiodun, was a special guest of the Cuban government and received a monthly stipend from them equal to the amount paid a Cuban professional.

She acknowledged that she also received financial help from the Republic of New Afrika, a U.S.-based group that believed that black Americans should form a separate nation out of five southern states. Obiodun joined the group after graduating from Columbia University with a degree in English and Journalism in the mid-1970s. Obioduns job in Cuba was to speak to local citizens and foreign visitors about the plight of what she refers to as political prisoners in the United States, prisoners serving time for crimes committed to fund and support a leftist revolution.

On May 2, 1973, Joanne Chesimard, a member of the Black Liberation Army, and two of her friends were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike by State Troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster. While being questioned, Chesimard and the driver opened fire on the troopers with automatic pistols, hitting both of them. Chesimard then took Foersters weapon and fired execution style into the officers head, killing him. She was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. She escaped in 1979 and fled to Cuba where she was granted political asylum.




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