Palacio del Segundo Cabo
The austere, quasi-Moorish, pseudo-baroque, part neoclassical Palacio del Segundo Cabo (Palace of the Second Lieutenant, O’Reilly #14, tel. 07/862-8091, Mon.–Fri. 6 a.m.–midnight) dates from 1770, when it was designed as the city post office. Later it became the home of the vice-governor general and, after independence, the seat of the Senate.
Today, it houses the Instituto Cubano del Libro (Cuban Book Institute), which hosts cultural events. Upstairs, the mezzanine is occupied by the Galería Raúl Martínez (Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.– 3 p.m.) art gallery.
Immediately east of the loggia is a marble statue of Fernando VII, holding a scroll of parchment that from the side appears jauntily cocked and is the butt of ribald jokes among locals.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition