Charlie Hill, accused of killing a New Mexico police officer and hijacking a plane to Havana, has expressed his desire to return to the United States.
For the past 43 years, Hill has been living in Cuba.
“I miss my country,” he said in an interview with CNN.
“I miss my family. 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.”
This comes at a time when the United States and Cuba are working to improve their diplomatic relations. According to BBC, John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, and Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban Foreign Minister, held the first highest level meeting in Panama in over 50 years.
The last meeting at a comparable level between the two countries was held in 1959 between the then-Vice President Richard Nixon and Fidel Castro.
President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro will also hold a meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. It will be the first time, since President Eisenhower met with Fulgencio Batista, that a current U.S. president will meet with a Cuban leader.
While the State Department recommended the White House that Cuba be de-listed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, Cuba offering refuge to fugitives could act as a deterrent.
Hill says that improved relations between the two countries could bring his “exile” in Cuba to a closure. However, he realizes and accepts that his self-extradition could bring him jail time.
Pete Kassetas, New Mexico Police Chief, said, “I understand that the social environment was very different in 1971 than it is today. I encourage him to return to face the charges against him on the state level and on the federal level and end his self-imposed exile in Cuba.”
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