Preservationists announced Thursday that the Bush administration has eased the trade embargo against Cuba enough to allow at least the first steps toward saving Ernest Hemingway’s crumbling home on a hilltop near Havana.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation put ‘‘Finca Vigia’’—the Cuban home where Hemingway lived from 1939 to 1960 and where he wrote The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls—on its 2005 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
In the nearly two decades that the list has been issued, this marks the first time a spot outside the United States has been included, said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust.
The United States has had a trade embargo against Cuba, with its Communist government headed by Fidel Castro, for four decades.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R.-Fla., an outspoken Castro opponent, said she would oppose the National Trust’s effort.
‘‘I will first verify how the permission process took place, then why the U.S government believes that historic preservation in a terrorist country is of our national interest, why U.S. citizens should want to use monies to refurbish a tourist site in a tourist apartheid society,’’ she said.
Moe said preservationists have received permission from the Treasury Department to send a team of experts to prepare a preservation plan. However, he said, ‘‘We do not yet have a license to take financial resources to Cuba’’ to do the actual restoration.
‘‘We’re working on that,’’ he said, citing ‘‘very good cooperation from both governments’’—the United States and Cuba.