One of the few lasting relics of the Cold War is a wrongheaded American ban on traveling to Cuba.  For U.S. passport holders, visiting that beautiful island has been prohibited for nearly all of the last 60 years.  A couple of years ago during a brief thaw in U.S/Cuba relations, I traveled to the island and discovered that memories of Ernest Hemingway  remain strong there.

Cojimar is a small fishing village a few miles from Hemingway’s Cuban estate, Finca Vigia.  It’s harbor was the base for Hemingway’s forays into the Gulf of Mexico in search of game fish.  Hemingway enjoyed downing daiquiris at La Terraza de Cojimar, a seaside bar and restaurant.

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Hemingway monument beside Cojimar Harbor.

It was in La Terraza de Cojimar that Hemingway met Gregorio Fuentes, who is  alleged to have been the inspiration for the protagonist in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, a tale of an epic battle between a down-on-his-luck Cuban fisherman and a giant marlin.  Hemingway won a Pulitzer for his Cojimar novel, and it was a factor in his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

To show his affection for the Cuban people, Hemingway gave them his Nobel Prize medal.  In 1962 during the early years of the Castro regime, the townspeople erected a monument in Hemingway’s honor near La Terraza shortly after his death.

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The English inscription reads: “In loving memory from the people of Cojimar to the Immortal Author of the Old Man and the Sea.”

Thanks to Mind over Memory  for hosting this challenge.