US harassed Hemingway: Cuban writer


Havana : A Cuban author has said in a new book that Ernest Hemingway was harassed by US intelligence agents when he turned down Washington’s request to criticise Fidel Castro’s government, Spanish news agency EFE reported Thursday.

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In “Hemingway: That Great Stranger”, Enrique Cirules presents the Nobel Prize-winning novelist as a “fierce” pursuer of German submarines in the Old Bahamas Channel, referring to his volunteering as a civilian spotter for the US Navy during World War II.

The author also wrote that Hemingway’s house in Cuba, known as Finca Vigia, near Havana, was raided on several occasions prior to the revolution, the news agency quoted the government-run daily Juventud Rebelde as saying.

Cirules said the home, which Hemingway bought in 1940, “was broken into twice in the Joseph McCarthy era by army troops deployed from the Columbia military camp” outside Havana.

A similar action was carried out in 1958, when “repressive forces” of dictator Fulgencio Batista raided Finca Vigia at a time when the insurrection led by Fidel Castro “was already uncontainable”.

The writer said that Hemingway was the object of persecution beginning in mid-1941, when he returned to his home in Cuba and tried to organise an “anti-fascist counter-intelligence agency”.

“It was at that moment that in the imagination of John Edgar Hoover – then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – the life and work of Ernest Hemingway became a great danger to the US,” Juventud Rebelde quoted Cirules as saying.

The author also wrote that when diplomatic relations between the two countries were on the verge of collapse, the US ambassador to Havana pressured the American author to “especially attack Fidel Castro, something that Hemingway never did”.

Hemingway, who committed suicide in July 1961 in Idaho, spent long periods in Cuba from 1939-1960 at Finca Vigia.