Che’s Rolex

Cuban born CIA operative, and Vietnam Veteran Felix Rodriguez is one of the most legendary operatives in the history of the CIA. Winner of the Intelligence Star for Valor from the CIA; and the Silver Star for his service in Vietnam from the US military, and the Gallantry Cross by the former South Vietnamese Government, Rodriguez takes listeners through his interesting life.

He begins by discussing his role in the April, 1961 US orchestrated failed Bay Of Pigs invasion of Cuba (for which President Kennedy was heavily criticized for not providing air cover for the invasion).

Rodriguez then discusses the hunting down, and last moments, of famous Argentinian born revolutionary Che Guevara. Guevara had become a committed communist, in part, through his motorcycle trips throughout Latin America and exposure to the extreme poverty in the region (and immortalized in the film The Motorcycle Diaries). After helping Castro take power, Che and Castro had a rift and he sought out to forment evolution outside of Cuba. Prior to the Agency’s Bin Laden hunt; Che was one of the Agency’s most important targets since the CIA’s founding in 1947. We learn the truth of what Felix Rodriguez took of Che, including whether the famous story that he set out to start revolutions outside Cuba.

The Che Operation was just one facet of Rodriguez’a life. He also discusses his service in Vietnam where he flow over 300 helicopter missions, and his involvement in the controversial Phoenix Program which was designed to “neutralize” suspected Viet Cong agents and obtain intelligence about the enemy.

Finally, Rodriguez takes listeners through his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal which cast a cloud on President Reagan’s second term. It was a program designed to aid “freedom fighters” known as “Contras” fighting the communist government of Nicaragua in the 1980s. Arms were obtained for the Contras by, in part, selling weapons to Iran secretly. Iran held out the prospect of better relations if they could get these weapons for their war against Saddam Hussein, and they promised help in freeing US hostages being held in Lebanon.

The US had also supplied Saddam Hussein with intelligence sharing, and dual use technology (and this was after Saddam had gassed thousands of Kurds and for which he was ultimately put to death for in a US orchestrated trial in Iraq years later).

Rodriguez concludes the interview by reflecting on his life, and discussing his views on what US policy towards Cuba should be.