Saturday, March 22, 2014
American explains why he hijacked a plane to Cuba (part 1 of 6)
William Potts: Why I hijacked a plane from Tracey Eaton on Vimeo.
Before grabbing a gun and hijacking a plane to Cuba in 1984, Potts was an aid to Roy Innis, one of the most outspoken black militant leaders during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Innis was president of the Harlem branch of the Congress for Racial Equality, or CORE.
Potts said he and Innis "kicked ass and took down names" in New York while pursuing equal rights for blacks.
By the 1980s, Potts said he had become disillusioned with CORE and with Innis, who had grown less militant and moved to the right.
Potts said that when CORE honored Gen. William Westmoreland, who had commanded military operations in Vietnam, he decided to break from that organization and pursue revolution elsewhere.
He went to Nicaragua and spent a month with the Sandinistas, who had overthrown Anastasio Somoza in 1979. While in Nicaragua, Potts said he tried to see the Cuban ambassador, but the ambassador wouldn't see him. And that's when he decided to hijack a plane to Cuba "to get military training."
Instead, Cuban authorities threw him in jail, where he spent 13 1/2 years.
After his release, Potts settled down and started a family.
He returned to the United States in 2013 and turned himself in. He faces air piracy and other charges and said prosecutors are pressuring him to take a plea deal or face 20 years or more in prison.
His trial is set for April 14 in Fort Lauderdale.
Note to readers: Skin tone in the video above is darker than the "Ex-hijacker rejects terrorist label" video because the sun went down and I had only a small spotlight. I didn't darken the image to make Potts look evil (see Time magazine's infamous O.J. Simpson cover in 1994).