Americans and Cubans Work Together to Preserve Literary Icon's Legacy

December 11, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. join forces / dʒɔɪn ˈfɔr sɪz / (idiom) – to work together
Example: The two countries have joined forces to improve trade policies. 

2. disrepair / ˌdɪs rɪˈpɛər / (n.) – the state of being broken or damaged
Example: Some buildings in the old university have fallen into disrepair.

3. mounted / ˈmaʊn tɪd / (adj.) – attached to a surface, such as a wall
Example: They watched a movie from the mounted television on the wall.

4. fragile / ˈfrædʒ əl / (adj.) – describing something that can be damaged or destroyed easily
Example: That box contains fragile items such as glass sculptures and vases.

5. relations / rɪˈleɪ ʃənz / (n.) – the way two or more groups interact with one another
Example: The president emphasized the importance of having good relations with other countries.


Read the text below.
In a historic move, a group of Americans and Cubans have joined forces to save American literary icon Ernest Hemingway’s ˈɜr nɪstˈhɛɪŋˌweɪ / possessions in his home in Cuba.

Considered to be one of the greatest writers of all time, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His home in Havana called Finca Vigia ˈfiŋ kɑ biˈhi ɑ /, has been a museum for the past 54 years. After he passed away, Hemingway’s wife donated the house, including all its contents, to the Cuban government. However, the house gradually fell into disrepair during the years of conflict between Cuba and the United States.

In 2011, Finca Vigia was successfully restored by American organization Finca Vigia Foundation with the help of Cuban authorities. The estate houses the writer’s artifacts, which include letters, mounted animal trophies, and other items he left behind. However, the house cannot protect some of the more fragile items, such as original manuscripts and photographs, from heat and humidity. Thus, the organization collaborated with Cuban authorities again to create an archival storage facility.

Construction for the facility began in June. Called The Taller, which means “workshop” in Spanish, it is the first building in Cuba to be constructed using US materials since the 1950s. Since construction of The Taller requires some materials not available in Cuba, the project requires shipping said materials from the United States.  This is considered a significant moment for US-Cuba relations since the move would not have been allowed in previous years due to the complicated relationship between the two countries. However, changes made in 2016 regarding trade policies between the two countries enabled the project to push through.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the idea of preserving Hemingway’s artifacts? Why or why not?
·         Aside from preserving the artifacts of artists, how can people honor them?

Discussion B

·         Should the government fund the restoration of famous people’s houses? Explain your answer.
·         Among the famous people that you know, whose house would you like to be preserved? Why?

December 11, 2016