The reciprocal affection between US novelist Ernest Hemingway and Cuba recalls the old saying “two of a kind.” “I live in Cuba because I love Cuba,” Hemingway said when he expressed his affection for the Caribbean island, which warmly welcomed him on his first visit in 1928.
The “Finca Vigía” (Lookout Farm), today a museum, was his favorite place of residence in Cuba where he lived from 1939 to 1960 - the first five years together with his wife Martha Gellhorn. It was in this very place that he wrote The Old Man and the Sea in 1951, today considered one of the 20th century's most outstanding fiction pieces and possibly his most famous work.
Published in 1952 and taken to the big screen several times, the novel tells the story of an old fisherman who is determined to stay in the open sea until he catches a fish. When he won the Nobel Prize for his life's work, Ernest Hemingway dedicated the award to Cuba. The statuette can be seen at the Santuario del Cobre's Chapel of Miracles in the eastern Cuban province of Santiago de Cuba.
It's worth saying that Cubans don't just hold Hemingway's literary work in high esteem, they also praise his regular contact with the people.
Many are the individuals involved in the conservation of his his collection of documents, his former home and the places he used to visit such as the Hotel Ambos Mundos and the bar La Bodeguita del Medio.
Although not on the official conservation list, Floridita was another of Hemingway's favourite bars in Havana and remains very well maintained. A life-size bronze statue of Hemingway sculpted by Cuban artist José Villa Soberón props up the bar there.
Additionally, in the locality of Cojímar (east of Havana), where Hemingway used to dock his yacht El Pilar, sculptor Fernando Boada erected a bust made of bronze fragments collected by local fishermen.
A Little Bridge Towards Reconcilliation Hemingway's connection to this country links Cuban people to people in the US through a shared affection for the writer.
The US-based Finca Vigía Foundation is a shining example of such links. An exchange program bringing together restoration and conservation experts to work on Hemingway's house, his yacht and his documents. The foundation's is headed by Mary Jo Adams, who says that every time people from both countries come together to work on the Hemingway conservation projects, a little bridge of diplomacy is built between the two nations.
Events such as the Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament, one of the oldest of its kind in the world, attract lovers of the sport from all over the world to Cuba. The Ernest Hemingway International Colloquium brings researchers from six countries to Cuba every two years, most recently last June.
As official Cuban-US diplomatic relations grow and strengthen, Hemingway's legacy continues to strengthen the cultural links between the two countries.
Finca Vigía Foundation headed by Mary Jo Adams: a US-Cuban exchange program between experts involved in the restoration of Hemingway's house and his yacht El Pilar.
Old Havana, the restaurant that was once Hemingway's favourite, where the Nobel-laureate would take his daiquirí. With a 196-year history, El Floridita still retains the magic that attracts people from all over the world to enjoy its exquisite cocktails.