HAVANA (CBSDC) — An American fugitive living in Havana believes the Cuban government will still protect him despite the thaw in relations with the United States.
Charlie Hill, 65, is a black nationalist accused of killing a New Mexico state trooper in 1971 and then hijacking a TWA flight and forcing it to land in Havana. Hill told CBS News in an exclusive interview that he is in fear of his life that American bounty hunters or vigilantes might come to Havana to look for him.
“I still fear for my life, you know, even here in Cuba nowadays, with all the Americans coming down,” he said.
CBS News reports Hill was part of a black separatist group known as the “Republic of New Afrika.” He and two other members were accused of fatally shooting Robert Rosenbloom after the 28-year-old trooper pulled over their car. Hill told CBS News an FBI counterintelligence program targeted the group because they were black radicals.
He claims he didn’t shoot Rosenbloom but that “everyone has a right to self-defense.”
“I would say to [the Rosenbloom 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 told CBS News.
Fidel Castro granted Hill and the two other men political asylum after hijacking the TWA flight and forcing it to land in Havana. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, along with a number of members of Congress, have called on Secretary of State John Kerry to bring Hill to justice.
“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,” Hill said.
Hill is currently living on a $10 per month government pension, while also working odd jobs.
He is one of 70 American fugitives being harbored by the Cuban government. CBS News reports Cuban diplomats have said they will not hand political exiles over.
The Justice and State Departments did not comment on the case.