- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007

CUBA

Hemingway’s villa cleaned for tourism

HAVANA — Cuba has dusted off Ernest Hemingway’s books, records and stag heads, cleaned out his pool and weeded his dogs’ graves, hoping to attract more visitors to his cherished hilltop home overlooking Havana.

Yet the restoration of the American writer’s retreat and its contents — including mildewed rum bottles, a pickled bat in a jar and the typewriter he used to write “The Old Man and the Sea” — could take the cash-strapped communist island two more years to complete, officials say.

“It’s a process that requires dedication and time. I predict [a finish date] perhaps at the end of 2009,” said Ada Rosa Alfonso, director of Finca Vigia, the Spanish colonial house turned museum where Hemingway lived from 1939 to 1960.

GUATEMALA

Former peasant girl aims at presidency

GUATEMALA CITY — Rigoberta Menchu’s spacious modern home blends seamlessly into this gated upper-middle-class neighborhood on the edge of the capital, but behind the walls and guards, there are chickens and rabbits and a flower-bedecked Mayan altar.

It’s an apt setting for a former peasant girl turned 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who straddles two worlds and is running for president of her deeply divided country, on a continent where Indians like herself have suffered centuries of poverty and discrimination.

Even though Mrs. Menchu trails behind the three leading candidates in the Sept. 9 election, the fact that she is running is indicative of the political rise of Indians across Latin America, highlighted by the 2005 election of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

PANAMA

750 gallons makes largest cup of coffee

PANAMA CITY — The country’s No. 1 coffee producer said it thinks it has set a record for the world’s biggest cup of coffee after brewing 750 gallons in a giant mug Sunday. Cafe Duran used 300 pounds of arabica to brew a cup measuring 3 yards by 1.6 yards over four hours.

“We are really thrilled with this; Panama has done it,” said Ricardo Duran, director and owner of the company, amid loud applause, fireworks and live tropical music. The stunt aims to draw attention to Panama’s small but growing gourmet, estate-grown coffee industry, organizers said.

The company will submit its record-breaking attempt to officials at Guinness World Records this month. The previous Guinness record was held by the United States for brewing 660 gallons in New York in 1994.

Weekly notes …

Britain expressed “continuing regret” Sunday for the 907 persons killed on both sides during the Falklands War, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the 1982 invasion of the islands by Argentina. British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett stressed London’s commitment to “constructive” ties with Buenos Aires and announced an offer for families of dead Argentine soldiers to hold a commemorative event on the islands. “We have now, with the agreement of the Falkland Islands government, offered members of families of the Argentine armed forces who fell in 1982 the opportunity to travel to the islands toward the end of 2007 to hold a private commemorative event at the Argentine cemetery in Darwin,” she said. … When the truck, smelling of greasy french fries, reached the end of the road in Ushuaia, Argentina, two young Americans jumped out and gave each other high-fives. Nine months after they set off from Alaska to spread the gospel of biofuels, Seth Warren and Tyler Bradt completed their journey Sunday at the end of Highway 3, which dead-ends at the southern tip of South America. Along the way, they made hundreds of stops on two continents to ask for used frying oil and animal fat, which powered their truck. “What do people at the restaurants say when you ask them for the used oil? Do they think you’re crazy?” asked a passer-by in Tierra del Fuego. “No, they think it’s super funny,” Mr. Bradt responded, standing beside the small Japanese firetruck that took them 21,000 miles since July.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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