The Washington Post is hosting a screening of ‘Papa,’ a film about Ernest Hemingway’s years in Cuba. The event listing prominently features the ubiquitous photo of Ernest Hemingway and Fidel Castro with the caption, “American author Ernest Hemingway and Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, who often went fishing together in Cuba, chat in Havana May 15, 1960, 14 months before Hemingway’s death.”
As I relayed in The Castros’ Appropriation of Ernest Hemingway, the two men did not fish together often. They met only once. The Castros have put serious effort into giving Americans the opportunity to infer a deeper connection between the revered author and their revolutionary government. As I pointed out though, all we know about their one meeting is that Hemingway was probably worried his beloved Finca Vigía might be confiscated by Castro, and witnesses reported nothing important was said between the men.
The Washington Post has the journalistic duty not to report errors in fact to their audience. And really, they should know better than to be duped by the Castro’s appropriation of Hemingway.
There is one more problem with the misleading caption. Fidel Castro was not Prime Minister of Cuba in May 1960. He later gave himself that title, but a man who wins political power through a violent revolution has the prerogative to give himself titles. Those of us who enjoy free government should take issue when dictators call themselves President or Prime Minister as though they deserve the same legitimacy that our freely elected leaders earn.