Key West loves Ernest Hemingway. He is part of Key West’s history. His home on Whitehead has become sort of a shrine. The lines run down the block to Truman with people waiting to get in. Sloppy Joe’s, the six toed cats, and more contribute to Key West folklore..
Hemingway called Cuba his home for 20 plus years. 1939-1960. He wrote Old Man and the Sea while living in Cuba. His Cuban home palatial.
Castro took over in 1959. Castro and Hemingway were not the best of friends. Castro immediately confiscated all property. In addition to land and homes was included books and papers. Hemingway personally asked Castro not to take his home. Castro paid him no attention.
Hemingway left Cuba within a year of Castro taking power. Leaving behind his home, books, letters and photos. The books, letters and photos number in the area of 9,000.
Time and the elements have taken their toll re the books, letters and photos. Steps are being taken to repair and maintain them. Cuba has never had the money to do so.
When Obama announced that Cuba and the U.S. were discussing becoming friends again, he shortly thereafter issued a list of exemptions to the embargo. Note, the embargo is still in effect. The reunion apparently is going to take some time.
The exemptions included the exportation to Cuba of supplies whose purpose was historical preservation. Note, not money. Money still cannot be exchanged. Supplies paid for however in the U.S. can.
National Trust is a U.S. foundation. Cuba has a National Cultural Heritage Council. The Council operates Finca Vigia. Finca Vigia is Hemingway’s Cuba home and personal property left there. Known also as Lookout Farm.
National Trust is sending just under $900,000 in supplies to the Cuban Council to repair and preserve Hemingway’s books, papers and photos. In addition, a special facility will be attached or built anew to hold the Hemingway materials. None of the money will be used to renovate the Hemingway home itself.
All good! If we are going to be friends, let’s be. Personally, I am not happy that it is going to take time for the reconciliation. Fifty years is punishment enough. The U.S. should be in Cuba now with both feet. It did not take the U.S. very long after World War II to kiss and make up with the Germans and Japanese.
My congratulations to the National Trust for getting things started. Lets do more and soon. Lets get rid of the embargo completely and move forward as old friends reunited.
My blog talk radio show tonight at 9 my time. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.
Two topics to be discussed are my slant on Charleston and the Josephine Baker story.
Re Charleston, this peaceful reaction to the killings will not work. The Connecticut school children killed changed nothing. Charleston will change nothing. More is required. Such will be discussed tonight.
The thrust of my comments…..I am not Jesus!…..I cannot be expected to turn the other cheek!
Enjoy your day!