Pope Benedict XVI at the Plaza de la Revolución, Havana, Cuba
During his three day visit to the island nation of Cuba, Pope Benedict XVI will be delivering mass to likely tens of thousands of followers on Wednesday, March 28th at the Plaza de la Revolución, Havana, Cuba. (Revolution Square location)
When I was visiting the Plaza two weeks ago, it appeared that most of the preparations for the visit had been completed, barriers were being put into place and, as our tour guide stated, access to the Plaza would likely soon be restricted.
I was happy to be there in the Plaza to see the preparations and to think about what it might be like to be in this Plaza, so important in Cuban history, with tens of thousands people standing shoulder to shoulder. It is the same location as Fidel Castro, in his youth, campaigned on behalf of people displaced to erect the Monumento a José Martí which will frame the Pope’s podium and it is the same location where Fidel Castro has personally stood for hours delivering his many lengthy speeches to the Cuban people.
As I stood there, on a warm March day, I, at first, thought that the heat would be unbearable for the crowds standing there awaiting the Pope’s words, but then, I remembered how hot it had been in Ottawa when throngs of Canadians stood shoulder-to-shoulder in what seemed like almost unbearable heat on July 1, 2011 to celebrate Canada Day and catch a glimpse of William and Kate.
As I thought about it, it seemed rather strange that our small group were almost the only humans in that vast Plaza. A strange feeling, almost like being in isolation from the rest of the world for just a brief moment or two.
I expect to be watching the events on TV as they unfold over the next few days. I’m certain I will not be alone. The folks in the Cuban communication building will certainly have a good view of the proceedings. I expect that it will be one event that few would have anticipated to happen in the shadow of the Che Guevara mural on the wall of the Ministry of the Interior Building or now its twin mural of Camilo Cienfuegos on the wall of the Ministry of Information and Communications Building.
To view a more of our images of Cuba start here: More of Cuba