Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jesse Ventura's tales of the CIA

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura traveled to Cuba in 2002. These are photos of him that I shot at the Hotel Nacional during his visit. I came across a 2008 video in which Ventura claims the CIA tailed him while he was in Cuba.

I don't know how much truth is in his tales. Ventura is a former professional wrestler who has been accused of exaggeration in the past. But some of his stories are entertaining. From the video:
When I went to Cuba over my country's objections, the administration's objections, I was there for five days and Castro gave me three of his personal bodyguards and an interpreter. I got my regular two bodyguards. And ironically, Castro allowed my guys to carry their guns the entire time they were in Cuba,  except when I met with him, then they had to - which I don't blame - they had to turn over their guns to the Cubans, and as soon as Castro was gone, the guns were immediately returned. But I can understand that 'cause after all we have attempted to assassinate him on a few occasions. Wouldn't that be called terrorism? If your intelligence community goes out and tries to assassinate another political leader, I would classify that as terrorism. 
The Bush administration did not want me going and when I returned, I actually thought about contacting President Bush and seeing if he would OK my passport again. By the way, they suspended my wife's passport. They would not allow her to accompany me. Now aren't we the home of the brave and the land of the free? My wife wasn't allowed to go to Cuba with me.
See more photos on jump page
Word came - Castro apparently has informants everywhere. I guess when you're a dictator that's standard operating procedure. An informant came up to him or came up to one of my three bodyguards and whispered something. The bodyguard then told the interpreter who told my guys who then told me.  
The informant said that I was being tailed by CIA operatives. Now I'm in Cuba, right? The Cubans wanted to know if I wanted to lose them. I found that real strange. Here I am a U.S. governor. I haven't done anything wrong, and I'm being tailed by my own intelligence community, and they didn't tell me. And the Cubans are offering me a way to lose them. I said no, we're not doing nothing wrong. What are they going to report back? Ignore them. We'll have fun. So we went out...

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