The square is notable as being where many political rallies take place and Fidel Castro and other political
figures address Cubans. Fidel Castro addressed more than a million Cubans on many important occasions, such as
1 May and 26 July each year. Pope John Paul II, during his 1998 first visit by a Pope, and Pope Francis in
2015, held large Masses there during papal visits to Cuba.
The square is dominated by the José Martí Memorial, which features a 109 m (358 ft) tall tower and an 18 m (59
ft) statue. The National Library, many government ministries, and other buildings are located in and around the
Plaza. Located behind the memorial is the Palace of the Revolution, the seat of the Cuban government and
Communist Party. Opposite the memorial are the offices of the Ministries of the Interior and Communications,
whose facades feature matching steel memorials of the two most important deceased heroes of the Cuban
Revolution: Che Guevara, with the quotation "Hasta la Victoria Siempre" (Ever Onward to Victory) and
Camilo Cienfuegos (sometimes mistaken for Fidel Castro), with the quotation "Vas bien, Fidel"
(You're doing fine, Fidel). It is also the site of several cultural institutions.
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán
Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was a Cuban revolutionary born in Havana. Along with Che Guevara, Fidel Castro,
Juan Almeida Bosque, and Raúl Castro, he was a member of the 1956 Granma expedition, which launched Fidel
Castro's armed insurgency against the government of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. He became one of
Castro's top guerrilla commanders, known as the "Hero of Yaguajay" after winning a key battle of
the Cuban Revolution. His signature weapons were a M1921AC Thompson and a modified M2 carbine.