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U.S. works with Cuba to restore Hemingway house

U.S. works with Cuba to restore Hemingway house
BY LINDSEY SABLAN • JUNE 20, 2015

HAVANA, Cuba (CNN)- Ernest Hemingway’s home near Havana is expected to
soon receive an infusion of badly needed building supplies from the
United States.

An American foundation restoring the legendary writer’s home in Cuba on
Saturday signed an agreement with the Cuban government to — for the
first time — import construction materials directly from the United
States to aid the preservation efforts.

The joint U.S.-Cuban project will build a workshop adjacent to
Hemingway’s home in Cuba to restore and maintain thousands of the famed
writer’s documents, rough drafts and letters.

“It’s historic, not since the 1950s has a building with American
materials been built here,” said Mary-Jo Adams, the executive director
of the Boston-based Finca Vigia Foundation, which is named for the
writer’s Cuban home where he wrote his Nobel-prize winning book “The Old
Man and the Sea.”

In an interview with CNN in Havana, Adams said the foundation has
received approval from the U.S. and Cuban governments to bring $860,000
worth of supplies from the United States for the new construction.

In January, as part of a shift in US policy towards Cuba,
Barack Obama authorized the exportation of building materials to the
island for the first time since the United States broke relations with
the island following ’s 1959 revolution.

adams said Hemingway’s love for Cuba created a rare area where the U.S.
and Cuban governments could cooperate, despite still present Cold
War-era tensions.
For the last 22 years of Hemingway’s life his home near Havana was his
base for marathon stretches of writing, drinking and fishing. From the
hillside residence, he entertained fellow writers, diplomats and
Hollywood stars.

Hemingway left Cuba in 1961, shortly before the United States and Cuba
severed diplomatic ties. Suffering from depression, Hemingway committed
suicide in Idaho the same year.

Saving Hemingway’s home in Cuba

His widow, Mary, donated the house to Cuban government, which displays
Hemingway’s books, clothing and even a collection of fermented lizards.

But Cuba’s punishing climate was gradually destroying the house and in
2005, the Finca Vigia Foundation began to work with Cuban government to
save Hemingway’s home.

The U.S. trade on Cuba tied up the collaboration in red tape,
but Adams said the warming of relations now promises to speed up the
restoration of the house and writings.

“It’s a whole different climate now,” she said.

As part of the restoration project, foundation experts have already
preserved and scanned thousands of Hemingway’s documents, including the
writer’s correspondence, hand-written cooking recipes and early drafts
of his books.

“Hemingway was a pack rat,” Adams said. “He wrote a lot of letters and
often he slept on them and never sent them. It provides a glimpse into
his thought process.”

The restored documents remain in Cuba but the foundation transports the
scanned copies back to Boston where they are on display at the John F.
Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Adams said the planned documentation restoration workshop will include
climate-controlled areas to store the preserved writings and protect
them from further damage.

She said the foundation hoped to bring the entire facility
piece-by-piece to Cuba from Florida by 2016.

“We will need to send a tremendous amount of tools over here,” Adams
said. “Hammers, screwdrivers, nails, nuts, bolts. Everything, we send
needs to have all the corresponding parts. We are under no illusions
that there is a Home Depot in Cuba.”

Source: U.S. works with Cuba to restore Hemingway house | WINK NEWS –
http://www.winknews.com/2015/06/20/u-s-works-with-cuba-to-restore-hemingway-house/

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