Finca Vigía: Where Two Cultures Come Together


In Cuba Now, Clotilde Serrano focuses on Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway “left his most cherished memories for the Cuban people.” Here are excerpts; see full story (translated by Brenda Sheehan) here.

Cultural ties between Cuba and the United States had in the figure of novelist and Nobel Literature Prize winner Ernest Hemingway an important point of connection. The writer’s decision to choose the Cuban archipelago to live much of his life, which motivated story lines of his works, says a lot about the emotional ties that joined him to the Cuban people.

Emblematic places of his continued presence, the coastal town of Cojimar, the Ambos Mundos Hotel, El Floridita restaurant-bar, the cays off the northern coast of Cuba, and Finca Vigía, where he lived the last twenty years of his life, keep his image and his work alive. In Cuba Hemingway made many friends, and left many traces in the people that assumed his figure with admiration and respect. On June 21, 1962, Finca Vigia became a museum and, at the same time, the first institution in the world to spread the life and work of the author of “The Old Man and the Sea.”

Hemingway lived until 1960 in this facility built in 1887 by Catalan architect and master builder Miguel Pascual Baguer on a hill where a lookout of the Spanish army was located until well into the 19th century.

In 1940, the celebrated U.S. writer acquires the property and there he ended For Whom the Bell Tolls and wroteAcross the River and into the TreesThe Old Man and the SeaParis was a party and Islands in the Gulf, in addition to many press articles. In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize, which he dedicated and gave to the Cuban people. Also in compliance with the last wish of her husband, his widow, Mary Welsh, returned in August, 1961, to Finca Vigía and spoke with top Cuban leader Fidel Castro, to whom she donated the property, as well as personal belongings of the writer, for the cultural enjoyment of the Cuban people.

The complete works of important figures of world literature, paintings, hunting trophies and a large amount of stationery are preserved there, available to visitors. In June, 2011, the Presidential Library and the John F. Kennedy Museum made its extensive collection of papers, photos, books and other objects of the writer available to Cuba, with the intention of cooperating with the Finca Vigía Museum and give it all documents (digital copies) that could be of interest for research.

The Finca Vigia Museum, an institution sponsored by the National Council of Cultural Heritage, works, since November 2002, together with the Research Council of Social Sciences, in the recovery and digitization of more than 11,000 letters, brochures and books.

This work shared among experts and researchers of the work of the so-called Bronze God of U.S. literature, which involves Cubans, North Americans and persons from other parts of the world, favored academic exchanges and an annual meeting in Cuba with the Finca Vigia Museum as its venue, as well as in other places related to the life of the writer. [. . .]

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