While the U.S. and Cuba are now entering a new age of friendship, a large number of American fugitives continue to live in Cuba claiming political asylum.
According to Fox News
, there are about 70 escaped U.S. fugitives currently living in Cuba, but thawed relations between the two nations could threaten the flight of the estimated 70 American fugitives if Cuba decides to end political asylum for those individuals.
So far Cuba has been reluctant to give up these fugitives, citing its sovereignty to harbor anyone it deems worthy of political asylum. Prior to any negotiations with the U.S., Josefina Vidal, director general for the U.S. division in Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, drew a line in the sand.
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"We've explained to the U.S. government in the past that there are some people living in Cuba to whom Cuba has legitimately granted political asylum," Vidal told The Associated Press
Here are three most notable American fugitives that have fled from Cuba and were granted political asylum from the U.S.
1. Charlie Hill
Hill is wanted in connection to the 1971 murder of New Mexico trooper Robert Rosenbloom, who discovered Hill and two other men transporting arms and explosives.
The three members of the Republic of New Afrika movement escaped to Cuba by hijacking a plane in Albuquerque following the incident. Hill is only surviving of the trio, according to New York magazine
2. William "Guillermo" Morales
Guillermo Morales was part of a militant Puerto Rican separatist movement and lost his fingers when a bomb he planted at a New York military installation blew up, according to the Post. Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional, the group to which Morales was connected, took credit for more than 130 bombings in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, according to Fox News Latino
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Morales escaped from a hospital and 89 years in prison while under police custody. Morales was later apprehended in Mexico, but shipped to Cuba rather than be extradited him to the U.S.
3. Joanne Chesimard (Assata Shakur)
In 2013, the FBI placed Chesimard on its "Most Wanted Terrorists" list
, the first woman ever to merit that distinction.
Often considered the most infamous American convict to be given political asylum, Chesimard was convicted of murder and six assault charges following a deadly car shootout with New Jersey troopers Werner Foerster and James Harper during a traffic stop. She was sentenced to life in prison in 1977, but escaped from prison in 1979 with the help of her friends with the Black Liberation Army.
The state of New Jersey has said it will match the FBI's bounty, doubling the reward to $2M for information leading to her arrest, according to Philly.com
Chesimard is more famously known under the name of Assata Shakur.
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