THE fact that Cuba has to date invested more than $200,000 to restore the Havana house where the U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway lived, while the United States has refused to support the works, was highlighted by various international news agencies that covered the appearance of Manuel Palacios, president of the National Cultural Heritage Council (CNPC) attached to the Ministry of Culture, at the celebrated farm where the author of The Old Man and the Sea lived in San Francisco de Paula.
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 Soto 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 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 that Ava Gardner is said to have used, 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-U.S. 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.
Translated by Granma International