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» ICDC: International Committee for Democracy in Cuba

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The Varela Project

The Varela project is named after the priest Felix Varela, one of the heroes of the Cuban fight for independence in the 19th century. It contains a draft of the first legal steps that would help the inhabitants of Cuba participate freely and responsively in the political and economic life of Cuban society. The Varela Project demands freedom of speech, the freedom to establish associations and clubs and the release of all political prisoners. It also demands a change of the Elections Act and the setting of a date for new general elections.

The Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación) demands that the Varela Project be proposed to all Cubans in a referendum according to the Cuban Constitution, Article 88. This article states that any legal initiative supported by at least 10,000 citizens’ signatures must be discussed in the Cuban Parliament. It clearly follows from this that the petition action for a referendum on the Varela Project is legal and has the right to be discussed by Cuban MPs.

10,000 signatures, as demanded by the Constitution, have been gathered in support of the Project, requiring that the petition be discussed by the Parliament. Nevertheless, Cuban authorities have ignored the initiative until recently. In the recently published official reaction to this breakthrough initiative, the government sharply attacked the Varela Project, saying that it will eventually fail. In the past few days, repression by the authorities has greatly increased, focused mainly against meetings and the actions where signatures have been gathered. Police and semi-military bodies are violently trying gain possession of the petition and prevent its discussion in Parliament.


This project is supported by funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic through the Transition Promotion Program.