Accounts of “Pappa’s” presence at these massacres comes courtesy of Hemingway’s own friend, the late George Plimpton, editor of the Paris Review, not exactly a “right-wing scandal sheet.”
After whooping up the Reds in Spain Hemingway whooped up the Reds in Cuba. "Castro's revolution," Hemingway wrote in 1960 “is very pure and beautiful. I'm encouraged by it. The Cuban people now have a decent chance for the first time." Pappa's sometime friend John Dos Passos said Hemingway "had one of the shrewdest heads for unmasking political pretensions I've ever run into."
Shortly after his encomium to Castroism, Pappa got a brand new bag: his Finca Vigia outside Havana was stolen by his heroes. So he started spending more time in the U.S.—as befit a dashing WWII hero. During the war, Hemingway, that champion of the people's cause, that pikeman in the holy crusade against fascism, wasn't about to let the severe gas rationing of the time interfere with his fishing. So he convinced the U.S. government that he wasn't so much fishing from his yacht, Pilar, off Cuba, as he was hunting Nazi submarines.
Oh, he might occasionally troll a few lines behind it but he was actually defending allied shipping against those marauding U-boats dispatched from afar by the wicked Hun. FDR saw to it that Hemingway got 160 gallons of gasoline a week and a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on his yacht.
And I bet he had a blast with that machine gun. Picture that boatload of sloppy drunkards staggering around the decks of Pilar off Cuba. "Hey Manolo!" Ernest would shout from the bridge. "Is that a periscope over there?... Looks like one!..."
"Ah yes, Ernesto!" Manolo slurs after spilling half a bottle of red wine on his shirt. "Sure does....might be a school of dolphin though."
"Can't be too careful, Manolo!" He growls while jerking back the carrier..."just like them Krauts to disguise themselves as Dolphins – RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!!..."EEEEEE! HAAAH! Lookit 'em run!" Eat lead you Nazi swine! – RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!!
"Hey, I wanna turn, Ernesto! Come on! You're hogging the gun!"
"I'm WHAT?!...WHAT!?" He sways and looks down crosseyed, his hands still on the gun..."What was...? – Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat – plink-plink-plink – poooft! poooft! bang! pow!!poooft! poooft!! plink!
"Hey WATCHIT! MAN – -WATCHIT!" Manolo and the crew jump overboard just ahead of the flames that erupt as ole Dead-Eye Ernesto splinters the deck and blasts the engine with a surprise burst. "COWARDS!" Pappa howls while shaking his fist at his chums bobbing in the waves. "Candy As**s!. What the hell am I doin out here with this buncha lily-livered Maricones!"
Yes sir, over in Berlin, Admiral Doenitz must have sprouted six ulcers agonizing over this new and deadly threat to his submarine fleet.
There were hints that shortly before his suicide Hemingway's crush on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara had started to ebb. Was it when several thousand Cubans in his province were dragged from their homes, tethered to stakes, and riddled by firing squads?
Heck, no. That was Hemingway's "necessary murder," the kind his heroes in For Whom the Bells Toll performed ritually. No, it started ebbing when old Ernesto found that this "pure and beautiful" revolution made it difficult for him to repair the pump on his Cuban estate's swimming pool.
That sort of thing will sour parlor Pinkos on a revolution every time.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.