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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura promotes his new book  NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura promotes his new book '63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read' at Borders Penn Plaza on April 4, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images)  

Jesse Ventura, Castro’s man of courage

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

NEW YORK — “I can only judge Fidel by the hour I spent with him,” renowned conspiracist Jesse Ventura told The Daily Caller in the empty lobby restaurant of his New York City hotel in mid-September.

“And I will tell you this about Fidel. He had the most unique — I will always remember his handshake. Always. And I’ve shaken how many hands? But I will always remember his.”

“He winds up. When he met me he cocks his hand up and he thrusts it down to you,” the former Minnesota governor explained with palpable excitement in his voice.

“And I’ll tell you what he first said to me. The first thing out of Fidel Castro’s mouth to me, he looked me right in the eye and said, ‘You’re a man of great courage.’”

TheDC’s interview with Ventura was supposed to be about his new book, “DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government,” but the plurality of the nearly 90 minutes seemed to focus on Cuba. Early in the interview TheDC asked the former Navy SEAL and professional wrestling caricature why he was more willing to believe Fidel Castro, who was until recently the inhumane dictator of the island nation, than the flawed but open and democratic American government?

“Fidel runs a very inhumane — how do you know that?” he asked incredulously. “They have the highest health care of any Latin American country. … What has he done that’s inhumane?”

Castro ran — and his brother now runs — a freedomless despotism, Jesse! By definition, that’s inhumane, TheDC argued.

“Wait a minute, that’s Communism,” he protested. “It’s a different form a government.”

Does Ventura, who sometimes claims he’s a libertarian, not have a problem with Communism?

“Communism is what it is,” he said. “I don’t support Communism. I don’t like that type of government.”

Contradicting himself, as he did on more than one occasion during the interview, he then claimed that Communism may actually be the best political system.

“The Communism of Karl Marx would probably be actually the best for everybody as a whole,” he explained. “But what he didn’t figure into was human nature and that’s what corrupts it.”

(Later in the interview, he told TheDC that he “should be rewarded for my time and effort” working on his book. Go figure.)

Thirty minutes in, TheDC was ready to call it a day, with all its questions asked and sort of answered. But something was bothering Ventura: the Cuba question.

“That’s it. That’s all you wanted from me,” he said with his arms crossed as TheDC reached out to shake his hand and end the interview. “I find you stimulating because, you know, you’re quite confrontational.”

He then got to what was on his mind: “I find it interesting how you’ll make loops to somehow you think I like Cuba better than here.”

Just listen to the tape. It doesn’t lie.

“Well I don’t know Cuba,” he said, before telling the fawning anecdote about Fidel’s handshake and how Fidel immediately recognized him as a courageous man.

Ventura seems not to know a lot about many countries, particularly those most threatening to the U.S. and with the world’s worst human rights records.

How about North Korea and Iran? Not a problem?

“They are what they are. Is it our job to change them?”

How about at least express the hope that they will one day enjoy the same liberties we have?

“Not all of what we got. We don’t have freedom. You think you have freedom?”