HAVANA – Ernest Hemingway did not leave Cuba in 1960 over his frustration with Fidel Castro’s government but was instead forced to abandon the island by the U.S. government, the official daily Juventud Rebelde reported over the weekend.
The director of the Hemingway Museum in Havana, Ada Rosa Alfonso, told the newspaper that then-U.S. Ambassador to Cuba Philip Wilson Bonsal made the 1954 Nobel Literature laureate leave the island.
The author of “The Old Man and the Sea” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” abandoned Cuba suddenly on July 25, 1960, leaving many personal belongings at Finca Vigia, located some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside Havana and the legendary writer’s home on the island from 1939 to 1961.
Unfinished manuscripts were among the items left behind by the writer, Juventud Rebelde said.
The majority of Hemingway’s biographers concluded that the writer left the island because he was uncomfortable with the direction that the government installed by Castro in January 1959 was heading.
On July 2, 1961, nearly a year after leaving Cuba, Hemingway killed himself in Idaho.
“It is a fact that they forced him to leave,” Alonso said in the article published by Juventud Rebelde.
In January 1959, Hemingway made some statements in the United States that were supportive of the revolution, expressing optimism about what was happening on the island, Alonso said.
Hemingway “supported the executions of the henchmen of the tyranny of (Fulgencio) Batista,” the museum director said.
On his return to Cuba in March 1959, Hemingway “said he was Cuban and that the Cubans were going to win,” Alonso said, adding that the writer later stated that the revolution was “indestructible and fabulous.”
The museum director said she could imagine “how those words were perceived by the government of the United States.”
On May 15, 1960, Castro and Hemingway “spoke quite a bit” and were photographed together at a fishing tournament in Havana, the Hemingway Museum director said.
“A short time later, they (U.S. officials) went to his house and told him that if he remained in Cuba, he would be considered a traitor,” Alonso said, adding that “Hemingway never had problems with the Cuban government.”
Hemingway “suffered from depression,” Juventud Rebelde said, noting that “the pressure to leave the island may have played a role in worsening his mental state.” EFE