News / USA

Fugitive US Air Hijacker Returns After 30 Years in Cuba

William Potts speaks to reporters outside Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, before boarding a plane to the U.S., Nov. 6, 2013.William Potts speaks to reporters outside Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, before boarding a plane to the U.S., Nov. 6, 2013.
x
William Potts speaks to reporters outside Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, before boarding a plane to the U.S., Nov. 6, 2013.
William Potts speaks to reporters outside Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, before boarding a plane to the U.S., Nov. 6, 2013.
VOA News
A one-time U.S. militant who hijacked an airliner to Cuba nearly 30 years ago has returned to his homeland, with the hope of resolving criminal charges that he still faces in the United States.

William Potts was a member of a black nationalist group called the Black Panthers when he commandeered a plane with 56 passengers on it at gunpoint in 1984 and ordered the pilot to fly to Havana. It was an era when airline security was lax and U.S. hijackers frequently sought passage to communist Cuba.

Potts, now 56 years old, thought he would be welcomed in the island nation a short distance from the southern coast of the U.S. Instead, he was quickly convicted of air piracy and served 13 years in a Cuban prison. Once freed, he married a Cuban woman with whom he had two daughters.

The couple has since divorced and his daughters now live in the U.S., prompting Potts to negotiate with U.S. authorities to arrange a charter flight Wednesday from Havana to Miami in the southern U.S. state of Florida. Upon landing, he was arrested.

Before leaving Havana, Potts said he was looking forward to a reunion with his family in the U.S.

"To go home, to my family, to my daughters, that's what I'm hoping, that's what I'm expecting,'' he said.

But Potts acknowledged that he has made no deal with American authorities about his fate back in his homeland. He said he was hoping that the prison sentence he served in Cuba would limit further punishment in the U.S.

"We have not coordinated anything, that same uncertainty we have to resolve today is that I committed a crime, paid my dues and that's it, it's over. I was condemned to 15 years in prison, not life.''

Potts said he intended to return to live in Cuba once the U.S. criminal charges are resolved.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid