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Of course, Hemingway’s connection to Cuba will be remembered beyond the fuzzy aftermath of an alcoholic haze, as two of his greatest literary successes sprang from his time there. He wrote parts of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” at the Hotel Ambos Mundos (Both Worlds), where his room, No. 511, is still a local attraction.
Hemingway was also a popular figure in Cohima, a fishing village east of Havana which is the setting for “The Old Man and the Sea.” The aftermath of that book’s publication is what makes the Hemingway Bar such a meaningful gesture to the writer from the Cuban people.
“He won the Nobel Prize for ‘The Old Man and the Sea,’ which was inspired by his time fishing in Cuba,” Jacomino said. “He donated the prize to Cuba, and it’s kept in a shrine for Cuba’s patron saint, La Caridad del Cobre.”
The entire Swiss Embassy building, including the Cuban Interests Section, is currently being renovated. The Hemingway Bar will be on the second floor, and the consulate is aiming for a Nov. 3 opening.
And who knows — though it wasn’t designed as a medium for diplomatic relations, perhaps that will be a side benefit. Get the U.S. and Cuba talking over a Hemingway Hammer and anything is possible.