The United States and Cuba are reconciling. And even though the mend in the battered relationship is still in its beginning stages, American fugitives who have been granted political asylum in Cuba are worrying about their future.
Charlie Hill, who told CBS News that he still considers himself a “revolutionary,” is one of those fugitives, having managed to evade U.S. authorities for 44 years.
Hill, CBS News notes, is a black nationalist wanted for allegedly killing a New Mexico state police officer and then hijacking a TWA flight to Cuba, along with two fellow members of the “Republic of New Afrika.”
In 1971 the trio were driving across the country when they were stopped by Officer Robert Rosenbloom. Hill says that he did not fire the gun that killed the 28-year-old trooper, but he adds that “everyone has a right to self-defense.”
Hill, however, does freely admit to hijacking the flight to Cuba, CBS notes, and forcing it to land in Havana, where Fidel Castro granted the trio political asylum.
Currently, the 65-year-old father of three lives a rather modest life on the outskirts of Havana, working odd jobs and receiving $10 in a monthly government pension.
“Cubans have always given me the great opportunity; I’m very grateful to them,” he said. “They gave me work, they gave me a job.”
Hill did add, however, that he was very “regretful” about the circumstances of Rosenbloom’s death.
“I would say to [his family] that it was regretful, you know, when a person’s life has to be taken. And you know, I was the one, I did not kill Officer Rosenbloom, and you know, it’s sad,” he said.
Hill said that he would return to the U.S. for a trial if he felt he could get a fair one. However, as someone who is considered a black radical, he doesn’t think that’s possible. “If I felt I could get a fair trial, I would go back to the United States of America because I am not a terrorist; nor am I a cop killer,” he said.
Most recently, with the improvement in relations, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has written to Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that Hill is a “terrorist” and that the U.S. now has a chance to “finally be able to bring a cop killer to justice.”
However, even without stepping foot in the U.S., Hill still fears for his safety. He is concerned that among the recent influx of Americans could be vigilantes or bounty hunters.
Read more at CBS News.