Memorial to Hemingway in Cuba, despite the U.S. government

Campaign News | Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Blockade is stopping donations from the US to restore Nobel winner's house

Cuba has invested more than $200,000 to restore the Havana house where the US writer Ernest Hemingway lived, while the United States has refused to support the work.

Various international news agencies highlighted the issue when they covered the visit of Manuel Palacios, president of the Cuban National Cultural Heritage Council (CNPC) attached to the Ministry of Culture, at the newly restored farm where the author of The Old Man and the Sea lived in San Francisco de Paula, just outside Havana.

The $200,000 was further swelled by one million Cuban pesos given by the Ministry of Culture and the state to rehabilitate La Vigía farm, according to the CNPC president.

After a tour of the building and its surroundings, Palacios informed journalists that the restoration works should be completed this year or in early 2008 and the total cost will be in excess of $1 million and four million Cuban pesos.

But he lamented that the US blockade “is preventing any kind of financial solution” for the development of the works agreed in 2004 via an agreement between Cuba and the U.S. Social Science Research Council.

Palacios said that to date 21,985 pages have been digitalized and 2,654 pages of documents and letters by the author of For Whom the Bell Tolls have been conserved.

The Hemingway Museum conserves more than 22,000 items, including books, photographs, film, hunting trophies, weapons, and sports and fishing equipment.

In November 2002 the Social Science Research Council and the CNPC signed an agreement to undertake the initial stage of the restoration of 11,000 letters, pamphlets and books belonging to Hemingway.

He explained that the works included the restoration of a tower that Hemingway ordered built, the 40-foot Pilar yacht, the swimming pool in whgich Ava Gardner is said to have swum naked, the bungalow and the coach house.

In the meeting with the press, Ada Rosa Alfonso, director of the Ernest Hemingway Museum, and the coordinator of the Cuban-US exchange on the works, and Gladys Rodríguez, ex-director of the Museum, criticized Washington for blocking the restoration and conservation of the writer’s papers.

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