Soon after President Barack Obama announced that Cuba will most likely be taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a State Department spokesman said the United States and Cuba will open talks about two of the most-wanted American fugitives currently in hiding on the island.
There are, according to different estimates, around 70 American fugitives seeking refuge in Cuba today, including murderers, bombers and hijackers.
The most notorious of them all is Joanne Chesimard who is better known by her other name – since 1984 – Assata Shakur. She is the aunt and grandmother of the murdered rap star Tupac Shakur.
Shakur, a member of the Black Liberation Army, shot and killed Officer Trooper Werner Foerster during a traffic stop in 1973. She fled to Cuba almost thirty years ago where she was granted political asylum by the then president Fidel Castro. The FBI has placed her on its Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists list. Information directly leading to her arrest carries a $2 million reward.
Apart from Shakur, following are the five most infamous fugitives in Cuba:
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Charlie Hill, who went to went to Vietnam in 1968 but refused fight, is wanted on American charges of murdering a state trooper and hijacking a plane in 1971.
Hill, now 65, recently gave CNN an interview in which he said that he missed his country and would like to return.
"I miss my family,” he told Patrick Oppmann. “I would like to go back and see where my grandparents were born, where I was born, where I went to junior high. Eat some blackberry pie. Even go to McDonald's. That's only natural."
Morales is a bomb maker who fought for FALN, a separatist organization in Puerto Rico. He is one of the American fugitives.
A self-professed revolutionary, Morales was sentenced to 99 years in prison for his involvement in two blasts in New York City. However, he escaped from the prison ward of Bellevue Hospital in 1979 and currently resides in Havana.
In a 1999 interview to The New York Post, Morales called himself “a rebel of conscience who will continue to struggle for independence for Puerto Rico.”
Ishmael LaBeet was charged in the murder of eight people in St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in 1972.
As he was being flown to the mainland U.S. in 1984 for a trial, he escaped after overpowering one of the armed guards escorting him, and hijacked the commercial plane, packed with passengers, to Cuba.
After he landed safely in his country, the plane then was allowed to fly back to the U.S.
Apart from being wanted for robberies, it is believed that Abiodun was associated with Assata Shakur and helped her escape from prison in 1979.
Interestingly enough, Abiodun is known as the “godmother of hip hop” in Cuba.
Victor Manuel Gerena
Gerena appeared on the FBI’s most-wanted list after he and other members of his gang allegedly committed a $7 million robbery in 1983 in Connecticut.
There is a lot of speculation over his current whereabouts. While some reports suggest he may be in Mexico others suggest he could be in Cuba.