US Fugitives Say Cuba Has Reassured Them They Are Safe 3

Cop-Killer Charles Hill

Cop-Killer Charles Hill

By The Associated Press

HAVANA — Two American fugitives who fled to Cuba after they were accused of killing police officers said Friday that Cuban officials have assured them that détente with the United States will not lead to their extradition.

The United States and Cuba held a second round of law-enforcement talks last month dedicated partly to resolving the fate of scores of fugitives after more than a half century with almost no cooperation. The talks are part of a series of U.S.-Cuba negotiations aimed at normalizing relations after the two countries declared an official end to Cold War hostilities on Dec. 17, 2014.

The discussions have raised U.S. law enforcement hopes that fugitives living in Cuba for decades will return to the United States to face trial or serve prison under plea deals.

Charles Hill, a black militant wanted in the 1971 slaying of a New Mexico state policeman, told The Associated Press that Cuban government contacts had recently reassured him he was at no risk of extradition. Nehanda Abiodun, another black militant wanted in a 1981 armored car robbery that left two police offers and a security guard dead, told the AP she had recently received a similar promise.

Cuba is home to dozens of people wanted in the United States on charges ranging from Medicare fraud to killings committed in the name of black and Puerto Rican revolution movements in the 1970s and ’80s. Cuba has asked the United States to return a smaller number of people, including Luis Posada Carriles, the alleged mastermind of a series of terror attacks against Cuba, including the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed all 73 people on board.

Cuba’s head of U.S. affairs told the AP shortly after the declaration of détente that Cuba was entitled to grant asylum to U.S. fugitives, a sign that people the country once saw as fellow revolutionary fighters will remain safe. The most prominent is Assata Shakur, who is on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists. She broke out of a prison where she was serving a conviction for murdering a New Jersey state trooper. She was regularly spotted in Havana after fleeing to Cuba but has not been seen here in public in recent years.

Hill said he had contacted his Cuban government handlers about three weeks ago after seeing reports that progress was being made in negotiations that could lead to his extradition.

“My people assured me that no, that’s not going to take place,” Hill said. “I said what’s the status and they said there’s no problem.

“The future is very difficult,” he said. “I don’t know, but I think the Cuban government is going to maintain their position. I feel very tranquil.”

Feature continues here:  Cuba to Remain Terrorist Safe Haven

 

 

 

Five of the Most (In)famous U.S. Fugitives in Cuba 6

Puerto Rican terrorist Guillermo Morales remains safe in Havana

Puerto Rican terrorist Guillermo Morales remains safe in Havana

As relations with Cuba normalize, here’s a look at the most well-known fugitives in the island nation — past and present

By Tina Griego, Washington Post

Assata Shakur may be the most-high profile American fugitive living in Cuba, as well as the most controversial. Extradite her, U.S. authorities demand of Cuba. Pardon her, demand her supporters in the United States.

But what of the other 70 or so American fugitives believed to be living on the island nation? They’re not easy to track, says Teishan Latner, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the United States and the Cold War.  “And among those who are known, they are hard to generalize. Some are seen as criminals. Some are mentally ill. Some fled from genuine political persecution.” The lines between the groups blur.

Take, for example, the hijackers. To live in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Latner says, was to have lived in the heyday of airline hijacking to Cuba. It was so common that one publication carried a photo of a flight attendant with the caption, “Coffee, tea or — Castro?”

Between 1968 and 1973, there were 90 attempts to reach Cuba from the United States by commercial plane or, in a few cases, private aircraft, he writes in a forthcoming article for the journal Diplomatic History. Most of the hijackers were from the United States, “making American citizens or residents the world’s most frequent hijackers.”

Latner traveled to Cuba several times to interview those wanted by U.S. authorities. The life they live depends on whether the Cuban government saw them primarily as victims of political persecution in the United States – or as common criminals.

Those viewed as criminals received a welcome party that led straight to prison and eventually into a kind of halfway house, where they could be watched while they transitioned in or out of Cuban life. For many, the reality of a communist society could not survive the idealized version.

But, Latner says, those whom Cuba welcomed as political refugees were put in apartments, given stipends and ration books and supported as they found work.

I asked Latner whom he would place on the list alongside Shakur as the most-high profile American fugitives – past and present. He said it would be hard to narrow down, but these five are among the most well-known.

Nehanda Abiodun. She’s been living in Cuba since 1990. U.S. law enforcement believes she helped Shakur, who was convicted in the killing of a New Jersey state trooper, to escape from prison in 1979. Abiodun is often called the “godmother” of Cuban hip-hop, Latner says, She became an adviser for Cuban youth who were becoming hip-hop artists. She has served as a bridge between Afro-Cuban and American hip-hop artists.

Feature Continues here:  The Top 5 US Fugitives Protected by Castro Regime