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Grauer Journal

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Pablo Neruda’s Cuba

The Chilean activist and writer’s attachment to the homeland of Habanos.

A celebrated Chilean poet, Nobel Prize laureate, a great intellectual and a committed politician, Pablo Neruda had a special connection with Cuba. This life-long affection began during the Spanish Civil War and only raised with years.

His writing talent and political believes led him to visit Cuba for the first time in its pre-revolutionary period in 1942 when he was invited by the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Education to give a series of lectures at Historic Research Seminar. Before this, Neruda learned about the Caribbean island being a keen reader as he was; however, Havana was for him no more than “a box of cigars”. Upon arrival Pablo Neruda was warmly welcomed by his friends, local writers, Juan Marinello, Nicolás Guillén and Angel Augier who accompanied him to the hotel Packard, an emblematic place in the Old City, next to the Malecón esplanade and surrounded by the Havana Bay. The choice of the hotel was natural for the writer who cherished the ocean not only in his poems but in a real life as well. He enjoyed long walks on hot Cuban beaches while searching for the abandoned shells brought out by the tides and scattered in the sand. Actually, Neruda was a passionate collector of seashells and possessed about 9000 pieces in his collection.

Neruda’s fondness for Cuba has further strengthened in the coming years. He fully supported the Cuban Revolution and dedicated to it a collection of poems "Canción de gesta" (translated literally as Song of Great Gesture or Epic Song), edited in 1960 in the Havana. Moreover, this work was the first one of the time to glorify the Caribbean and Latin American people and their struggle for freedom, independence and better life.

The writer, who knew personally and was on good terms with Fidel Castro, made a number of trips to Cuba in the following years. Furthermore, his portrait was immortalized by Alberto Korda, Castro’s official photographer.

We are delighted to present you the original photo of Pablo Neruda along with his personal notes in our Art and Culture area. You will also discover an exclusive piece - a collection of poems "Aún", signed by the author in 1971 with his famous green-color pen.

(Parts from our private collection)

For more information, contact us on +41 22 552 2799