SAN FRANCISCO DE PAULA, Cuba (Reuters) – A restoration center to preserve the work of Ernest Hemingway opened in Cuba on Saturday, highlighting an area of cooperation with the United States as bilateral ties between the old Cold War foes have chilled again.
A view of the Ernest Hemingway Museum during a visit of U.S. Congressman James Mcgovern (not pictured) in Havana, Cuba, March 30, 2019. Vigia, or Lookout Farm, now a museum in San Francisco de Paula on the outskirts of Havana.
The restoration center built by the Cuban National Cultural Heritage Council and the Finca Vigia Foundation is located on the 15-acre (6-acre) property where Hemingway lived in a tree-shaded, airy Spanish-style home.
"When we come together, when we work together, we can do positive and amazing things," Jim McGovern, and U.S. congressman for Massachusetts who wants better US-Cuban relations, said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
McGovern said the project was much easier than it was for the decades-old U.S. Trade embargo on Cuba, which President Donald Trump has tightened since coming to power.
Hemingway moved to Finca Vigia in 1939, the year before "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was published, and wrote "The Old Man and the Sea", "A Moveable Feast" and "Islands in the Stream" while he was there, according to local scholars.
He left Cuba in 1960, more than a year after the Cuban revolution and less than a year before he killed himself in Idaho at age 61 amid a struggle with depression.
The writer left thousands of documents in Cuba, ranging from manuscripts of some of his works to letters, as well as photographs and annotated books.
The restoration center, which received financing from the Ford Foundation, American Express Philanthropy and the AT&T Foundation among others, includes laboratories and an air-conditioned vault.
The Cuban National Cultural Heritage Council and the Finca Vigia Foundation had previously signed three cooperation agreements to disseminate the legacy of Hemingway.
Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Darren Schuettler