News and Facts about Cuba

American harbored by Cuba fears winds of change

American harbored by Cuba fears winds of change

HAVANA, Cuba — As ’s communist revolution fades into the
history books this week, one former American radical is still fighting
here in Havana.

“I still consider myself to be a revolutionary,” he said.

Charlie Hill is a black nationalist accused of murder and hijacking. He
has eluded U.S. authorities for 44 years.

The 65-year-old father of three lives on the outskirts of Havana, beyond
the reach of the FBI and under the protection of the Cuban government.
He lives very modestly – working odd jobs and reliant on a $10 per month
government pension – but he does so as a free man.

“Cubans have always given me the great opportunity, I’m very grateful to
them,” he said during an exclusive interview with CBS News at his home.

Hill fled to Havana in 1971 after he and two other members of a black
separatist group known as the “Republic of New Afrika” were accused of
fatally shooting New Mexico state trooper Robert Rosenbloom.

The three were driving cross-country when the 28 year old trooper
happened to pull over their car. Hill claims an FBI counterintelligence
program – known as COINTELPRO – had long been targeting the group
because they were black radicals.

Hill insists he did not pull the trigger but said “everyone has a right
to self-defense.”

He does admit that the three men then hijacked a TWA flight and forced
it to land in Havana, where Fidel Castro granted them political asylum.
He considered them fellow revolutionaries.

As for trooper Rosenbloom and his family, Hill claims that he thinks of
them nearly every day.

“I would say to them 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.”

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba has renewed calls for
his extradition.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez recently wrote Secretary of State John
Kerry a letter calling Hill a “terrorist” and saying this was a chance
to “finally be able to bring a cop killer to justice.” A number of
members of Congress, including Sen. Tom Udall (D, Colorado), have joined
the call.

Hill refuted those charges and said it is proof that he cannot get a
fair trial in the United States.

“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 is just one of roughly seventy American fugitives harbored by Havana,
but Cuban diplomats say they will not hand over any of those it
considers political exiles. Hill said he believes the Cuban government
will protect him. Neither the Justice nor State Departments would
comment on his case.

Hill says he still misses the U.S., but is unsure whether he will ever
step foot on U.S. soil again.

Yet even in Cuba, Hill said he does not fear entirely safe. His latest
worry is that an influx of American tourists might also bring bounty
hunters or vigilantes.

“I still fear for my life, you know, even here in Cuba nowadays, with
all the Americans coming down here,” he said.

Source: Charlie Hill, American harbored by Cuba, fears winds of change –
CBS News –
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/charlie-hill-american-harbored-by-cuba-fears-winds-of-change/

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