“Hunter (Thompson) wanted to interview Castro, but we never got through to him, so the story turned into our adventures down there. He referred to me as “Ray, my bodyguard.” It was wonderful—just me and Hunter prowling around Havana, going to these various restaurants or homes that you’re not supposed to go and eat at, but you’re invited. It was totally ludicrous and surreal.” Johnny Depp, The Daily Beast
The Good Doktor and Depp undertook their Cuba trip during (their friend) Pres. Clinton’s term. But then:
The “people-to-people” license program was halted under President George W. Bush but restarted by the Obama administration in 2011.
Actually, the Good Doktor and Depp used the cover of a “journalist” visa/license through Rolling Stone magazine.
“A Journalist visa is a very important & professionally desirable thing to have in Cuba. It confers a sort of VIP status & political access, as well as immunity to prosecution under the goddamn Helms-Burton Act. Let’s give it a whirl in Havana. We could both load up on Absinth & trash a nice suite in the Hotel Nacional. Invite 50 or 60 Beautiful People to a party /celebration in honor of Che Guevara, which then “got out of hand.” Depp jailed after orgy in Cuba, Prostitutes seized after melee in Penthouse, Actor denies treason charges.
Why not? I do in fact have a balcony suite at the Hotel Nacional..I am going to Cuba to pay my respects to the Cuban people & to thank Castro for the Beauty of his Dream. But I am mainly going for Fun.” (Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear p. 222)
From a Publisher’s Weekly book review:
“Memoir adds to the madhouse mix, with Fontova’s flashbacks erupting in an onslaught of anecdotes. Fontova’s voice is powerful and compelling, and the hog hunt finale is worth the wait. The end result is something like Deliverance as written by Hunter Thompson.” Publisher’s Weekly, Nov. 2003