The old man and the KGB 5

We do not hold Ernest Hemingway in high esteem (or any) as a novelist, but many do. Will this information about the man himself come as a shock to them?

Humberto Fontova writes at Townhall:

“There’s no politics here ….In fact, there’s no clear no evidence that Hemingway was a Castro enthusiast, or critic,” says Sandra Spanier, an English professor at Penn State University who is the editor of the Hemingway Letters Project. “He felt that it was important, as a guest living in another country, that he be apolitical,” Spanier said in an interview. (Los Angeles Times story on the restoration of Ernest Hemingway’s mansion Finca Vigia near Havana, Cuba, May 30 [2018].)

Got it, amigos? According to the Los Angeles Times a former KGB agent living in a KBG-founded and mentored Soviet satrapy while singing its praises makes him antiseptically “apolitical”.

What?….some of you weren’t aware that declassified Soviet documents proved that Ernest Hemingway officially signed up with the KGB as “Agent Argo” in 1941?

Well, don’t take it from me. After all I’m a “rabidly right-wing Cuban exile!” Instead take it from the crypto-commie (but well-sourced) UK Guardian.

But you just loved The Old Man and the Sea? And especially Gary Cooper as Robert Jordan and Ingrid Bergman as Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls? So you just can’t bring yourself to believe something so shockingly repulsive about one of your favorite authors Ernest Hemingway?

OK, fine.  I understand. Then try this: “According to transcripts of NKVD files prepared by a Russian historian who subsequently fled to the West, Hemingway “was recruited for our work on ideological grounds” by an operative named Jacob Golos.

Turns out that Papa failed pathetically at his KGB assignment.  But hey, it’s the thought that counts!  And the thought was to be a member of the most murderous organization in modern history during its most murderous phase. (Stalin’s NKVD under Lavrenti Beria.) A singular honor, surely!

“There’s no clear evidence that Hemingway was a Castro enthusiast,” sniffs the Los Angeles Times. Oh, really? Well chew on these a bit:

“Castro’s revolution is very pure and beautiful. I’m encouraged by it. The Cuban people now have a decent chance for the first time. The Cubans getting shot all deserve it.” – Ernest Hemingway, 1960.

Quite fittingly, when Soviet diplomat Anastas Mikoyan finished his courtesy calls on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Havana in 1960 — this long-time Stalin and Beria confidant made it a point to call on Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway knew full well what was going on behind the scenes of Castro and Che’s “pure and beautiful” revolution. Accounts of “Papa” Hemingway’s eager presence at many of the Katyn-like massacres of untried Cubans comes courtesy of Hemingway’s own friend, the late George Plimpton (not exactly an “embittered rabidly right-wing Cuban exile!”) who worked as editor of the Paris Review, (not exactly a “McCarthyite scandal sheet”.)

In 1958 George Plimpton interviewed Hemingway in Cuba for one of the Paris Review’s most famous pieces. They became friends and the following year Hemingway again invited Plimpton down to his Finca Vigia just outside Havana. An editor at The Paris Review during the 1990’s, while relating how this high-brow publication passed on serializing the manuscript that became Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries, reveals “Papa’s” unwitting role in the rejection.

“I took the paper-clipped excerpt upstairs to the Boss (Plimpton),” writes James Scott Linville, “and said I had something strange and good. As I started to tell him about it, his smile faded. I stopped my pitch and said, ‘Boss, what’s the matter?'”

“James, I’m sorry.” Linville recalls Plimpton replying. A sad look came over him, and he said, “Years ago, after we’d done the interview, Papa invited me down again to Cuba. It was right after the revolution.

“There’s something you should see,” Hemingway told Plimpton while preparing a shaker of drinks for the outing.

They got in the car with a few others and drove some way out of town. They got out, set up chairs and took out the drinks, as if they were going to watch the sunset. Soon, a truck arrived. This, explained George, was what they’d been waiting for. It came, as Hemingway knew, the same time each day. It stopped and some men with guns got out of it. In the back were a couple of dozen others who were tied up. Prisoners. The men with guns hustled the others out of the back of the truck, and lined them up. Then they shot them. They put the bodies back into the truck.

And so it started. Within a few years 16,000 men and boys (some of them U.S. citizens) would fill mass graves after scenes like the ones that so charmed Papa Hemingway with his thermos of specially-prepared Daiquiris. The figure for the Castroite murder tally is not difficult to find. Simply open “The Black Book of Communism,” written by French scholars and published in English by Harvard University Press (neither exactly an outpost of “embittered rabidly right-wing Cuban exiles!”) …

“Pure and beautiful” indeed, Mr “apolitical” Hemingway.

To live in Castro’s Cuba and not be outraged, would not be a condition of mind describable as “apolitical”, but “inhumane”.

An inhumane novelist, Ernest Hemingway.

Posted under Cuba, Soviet Union by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 2, 2018

Tagged with

This post has 5 comments.

Permalink
  • Cogito

    I think an artist’s art and his political or cultural convictions are separable.

    I can enjoy Chesterton, Chaucer, TS Eliot, Dickens et al. despite their anti-Semitism.

    Renoir was a wonderful painter, but he was also an anti-Dreyfusard.

    Wagner was a moral monster.

    Bernini reportedly through acid in his girl friend’s face.

    Shaw was in the thrall of fascist dictators.

    Caravaggio was a murder.

    And so on.

    • De gustibus non disputandum est.

      • Further reply to Cogito:

        In “Our Mutual Friend” Dickens created highly sympathetic Jewish characters. He was not an anti-Semite. Fagan in “Oliver Twist” was a “type” in Victorian England.

        Wagner? Yikes! But as I said: “De gustibus …”

        • Cogito

          Yes, to my ear too, Wagner is a cacophonous horror, but, as you say, Chacun a son goût n’est-ce pas?

  • liz

    Interesting. He had alot in common with Che Guevara, who would watch the executions conducted outside his office through a window, and often do the killing himself. Che also liked to write, in praise of Castro, communism, and his love for killing. Both good examples of how Marxism poisons the mind.