Humberto Fontova

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that somebody like Jesse Ventura is also a major fan of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara? (Or claims to be for the publicity value among the “hip”?)

Recalling his visit to Cuba and meeting with Fidel Castro in 2002 Ventura grew misty-eyed: “Fidel Castro looked into my eyes and told me I was a man of great courage…Maybe he (Castro) saw a little of him in me.”

Recall the Cowardly Lion’s reaction when the Wizard grants him “the NERVE.” Well, Jesse Ventura’s moronic gloating outdoes even the lion’s (“Shucks, folks, I’m speechless..ha-ha…Ain’t it the truth! Ain’t it the truth!”)

And this imbecile and buffoon (or is it master fraud and expert showman?) was elected governor of a populous and prosperous state, and honored by Harvard University with the title of “Visiting Fellow,” to say nothing of his career as media host and author.

“And I’ll tell you another thing that shows me a little bit more about Castro” also revealed Ventura in an interview. “The main downtown building in Havana has this huge flat wall and it has got a huge portrait on it. It’s not Castro. It’s Che Guevara. The biggest photograph in downtown Havana was a mural on a wall of Che. Now if Castro was such an egomaniac and all this, wouldn’t he put himself up there instead of Che?”

For a man with Ventura’s (mostly self-) vaunted “street smarts,” Fidel Castro’s blandishments of (the conveniently dead) Che Guevara should be a cinch to plumb. Didn’t Don Barzini send the biggest and fanciest flowers to Don Corleone’s funeral?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported how on his Cuba visit Ventura spoke at the University of Havana where he “exhorted students to dream big and work hard to achieve success!” Here one blinks, looks again—and gapes. You long to believe otherwise, you grope for an extenuation, you hope you misread—but it’s inescapable: A man elected as governor of a populous and prosperous U.S. State (and a “Harvard Visiting Fellow”) cannot distinguish between the subjects of a Stalinist police state and the attendees of an AmWay convention.

Ask anyone familiar with Communism. To achieve “success” in such as Castro’s Stalinist fiefdom, you join the Communist Party, you pucker up and stoop down behind Fidel and his toadies and smooch away. (Either that or jump on a raft.)

So come to think of it, Jesse Ventura indeed had much to teach those Havana U. students. On his Cuba visit he performed brilliantly.

Years later when, during an interview, The Daily Caller’s Jaime Weinstein suggested to Ventura that Castro runs a very inhumane dictatorship, a “shocked” (or expertly performing?) Ventura gasped: “They have the highest health care of any Latin American country! … What has he (Fidel Castro) done that’s inhumane?”

For the benefit of the esteemed academics who granted Ventura’s “Visiting Fellowship” at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, here’s a few fully- documented items that might address their esteemed “Visiting Fellow’s” question:

Fidel Castro’s regime jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s during the Great Terror, murdered more Cubans in its first three years in power than Hitler’s murdered Germans during its first six and came closest of anyone in history to starting a worldwide Nuclear war. In the above process Fidel Castro and Che Guevara converted a nation with a higher per-capita income than half of Europe and a huge influx of immigrants into one that repels Haitians and boasts the highest suicide rate in the Western Hemisphere.

"What has Cuba ever done to us?!” the again “shocked” (or masterfully miming) “Harvard Visiting Fellow” gasped recently on his show On the Grid. “We've been practicing terrorism against them!”

“War against the United States is my true destiny,” Fidel Castro had confided in a letter to a friend in 1958. “When this war’s over I’ll start that much bigger war.”

“Of course I knew the missiles were nuclear- armed,” responded Fidel Castro to Robert McNamara during a meeting in 1992. “That’s precisely why I urged Khrushchev to launch them!”

But for the purposes of this discussion let’s overlook the above trivialities, as they’re obviously regarded by Harvard’s esteemed academics. Instead let’s focus on the fact that Jesse Ventura claims some sort of “fellowship” with American servicemen, especially Viet-Nam veterans. (Granted, this fellowship is–to put it mildly—not fully reciprocated.)

So again, for the benefit of the esteemed academics who granted Ventura’s “Visiting Fellowship” at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, we’ll mention a few items to highlight their “Visiting Fellow’s” ignorance (or expert burlesque?) To wit:

In 1967 Fidel Castro sent several of his regime's most promising sadists to North Vietnamese prison camps to instruct the Vietnamese reds in finer points of their profession. Testimony during Congressional hearings titled, "The Cuban Torture Program; Torture of American Prisoners by Cuban Agents" held on November 1999 provide some of the harrowing details.

The communists titled their torture program "the Cuba Project," and it took place during 67-68 primarily at the Cu Loc POW camp (also known as "The Zoo") on the southwestern edge of Hanoi. In brief, this "Cuba Project" was a Joseph Mengelese experiment run by Castroite Cubans to determine how much physical and psychological agony a human can endure before cracking.

The North Vietnamese—please note!— never, ever asked the Castroites for advice on combat. They knew better. Unlike director Steven Soderbergh, they saw through the whole "Che as Guerrilla" hoopla for what it was and is: a Castroite hoax to camouflage the Inspector Clousseau-like bumblings of an incurable military idiot--and more specifically, Castro's own hand in the idiot's offing.

No, the North Vietnamese sought Castroite tutelage only on torture of the defenseless, well aware of the Castroites expertise in this matter.

For their experiment the Castroites chose twenty American POWs. One died: Lieutenant Colonel Earl Cobeil, an Air Force F-105 pilot. His death came slowly, in agonizing stages, under torture. Upon learning his Castroite Cuban affiliation, the American POWs nicknamed Cobeil's Cuban torturer, "Fidel."

"The difference between the Vietnamese and "Fidel' was that once the Vietnamese got what they wanted they let up, at least for a while,” testified fellow POW Captain Ray Vohden USN. “Not so with the Cubans. Earl Cobeil had resisted 'Fidel' to the maximum. I heard the thud of the belt falling on Cobeil's body again and again, as Fidel screamed "you son of a beech! I will show you! Kneel down!--KNEEL DOWN!” The Cubans unmercifully beat a mentally defenseless, sick American naval pilot to death."

"Earl Cobeil was a complete physical disaster when we saw him," testified another fellow POW, Col. Jack Bomar. "He had been tortured for days and days and days. His hands were almost severed from the manacles. He had bamboo in his shins. All kinds of welts up and down all over; his face was bloody. Then 'Fidel' began to beat him with a fan belt.”

According to the book Honor Bound the tortures of U.S. POWs by Castro’s agents were “the worst sieges of torture any American withstood in Hanoi.”


Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.