|WHAT IS THE
CHRISTIAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT?
It was founded in 1988, by a group of
secular Catholics belonging to the Parish of Cerro, in the city of
Havana. It is a movement with certain Christian inspiration, a
political-civil movement, not confessional, in which Cubans with
different religion’s faith have become a part of it, that is,
Catholics and Protestants, inclusive people that do not have any kind of
religion, because this is not a religious movement, addressed only to
religious people, the goal of this movement is to reunite all those
citizens that are willing to help a nation by defending and promoting
people’s right and working toward a reconciliation and peaceful
changes in our society.
The Christian Liberation Movement brings
into existence its projects and develops them inspired in the evangelic
values and the ideas of social Christian. It does not only reject
violence as the method to fight, on the contrary it fights against it,
carried out by the power itself or between citizens. The Movement
constantly evokes freedom against violence, by not using it, nor
encouraging it, by not submitting yourself in any way to violence or to
act drawn by fear.
What’s the purpose?
* To get a Cuban’s participation in
the process of the changes needed in our society. Cubans are the doers,
not only spectators of such reality. The solution to the problems of
Cuba is a responsibility of all Cubans.
* To start a civic road that would lead us
in the accomplishment of changes and therefore be able to demand a
respect of the Civil and Human Rights.
* To promote the exercise of constitutional
legal rights on behalf of citizens and a highly regard for the same on
behalf of the Government and all official institutions.
* A qualitative change of law within the
law, FROM THE LAW TO THE LAW. That is through the demand from all
citizens, amend the law and the constitution and be able to go forward
peacefully, toward a society that supports itself within the right and
solidarity, social justice and economic freedom.
* The re-encounter again of our brothers
from the Diaspora, an undividable part of our people.
* The Christian Liberation Movement
develops a private freedom project that consists of: the practice of
freedom of speech, overcome fake and a two-side morale and a recovery of
self-esteem and creation of a conscience toward your own dignity and to
respect that same dignity in your fellow-being.
An urge to exercise the Human and Civil
Rights and Solidarity amongst all Cubans.
What are we doing about it?
* Demanding our legal rights. The
Movement is not illegal, the problem is that is not recognized. It is
the government who violates the law and Constitution by not recognizing
our legal right to exist. We have presented to the Minister of the
Department of Justice, by the laws of the Movement as well as all the
pertinent documents required by the Corporate Law and we have not
received a reply.
* We have filed complaints before the
government and the "Poder Popular" National Assembly, with a
result of harassment and intimidation from regulating associations.
* Some founders of the Movement, making use
of their citizens’ rights were nominated by voters from their
respective municipalities, through signed petitions, as candidates to
become members of the Council during recent elections. Said petitions
were rejected in some of the cases and not even replied in most of the
cases, by the corresponding authorities.
* Recently, in December 1998, we brought
before the offices of the "Poder Popular" National Assembly, a
complaint to review and amend the Electoral Law, since the same was
* We have prepared an Interim Program, that
will serve as a master document for a national dialogue that will
accomplish the steps needed to change our society in all respect.
* We are proposing for consideration of the
society the VARELA PROJECT
The VARELA PROJECT introduces the first
steps that should be given, amending the laws, to open the necessary
spaces for a free and responsible participation of all citizens within a
political and economic life of a society. In addition, it will guarantee
freedom of speech and association, decree a political amnesty for the
ones imprisoned due to political motives, amends the Electoral Law and
determines the different period of times to hold new general elections.
The VARELA PROJECT clearly defines the
amendments proposed to change the laws to guarantee the fundamental
rights and be able to commence an economic opening for all Cubans.
THE VARELA PROJECT IS PROPOSED TO THE
PEOPLE FOR CONSIDERATION THROUGH A REFERENDUM (art.88.g.) by the
Constitution of the Nation that demands that at least 10,000 citizens
support a legal initiative for the same to be considered. This implies
that our campaign, as a citizen, to gather signatures, in support of a
request for a Referendum about the VARELA PROJECT, is a constitutional
WE ARE ALL CUBANS, WE ARE ALL BROTHERS AND
Members of the Christian Liberation
To encourage all citizens
The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba
grants the right of a citizen to present for consideration amendments
into the laws.
We introduce to the people of Cuba the
The project proposes amendments to some
of the laws so to get this way a start toward the improvement of a
society. The VARELA PROJECT wishes to process and help to become a law
what are already determined as rights in the Constitution of the
Republic of Cuba and which are not being followed.
This project deals with the intention of
opening spaces for a free and responsible participation of all citizens
during a political and economic life in our society.
We recommend all citizens to support the
petition for a Referendum so they, as a nation will decide about this
first step of setting an opening. The Constitution of the Republic in
article 88g gives the citizens the right to carry out this petition. We
hope that the government will respect such right.
The VARELA PROJECT would convert into
law, the right to freedom of speech, the freedom of communication media
and the freedom of enterprise. Also a citizen’s right to own
enterprises, something that at present is a prerogative only for
foreigners. It also proposes for consideration an amendment to the
Electoral Law No. 72, since the same is unconstitutional. In addition
there is a request of a political amnesty for political prisoners and
The VARELA PROJECT is a road for the
Cuban people to walk through it with the truth and the right in
solidarity and to see their hopes come true. Father Varela was the man
who taught us to think as Cubans, he implanted the first seed in our
minds for us to realize the right we have as people toward liberty and
sovereign. That is the reason why this project bears his name.
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas
Miguel Saludes García
Juan Antonio Rodríguez Avila
Antonio Ramón Díaz Sánchez
City of Havana, January 22, 1998
The Constitution of the Republic
guarantees all citizens the right to propose amendments for
consideration in the juridical aspects and also offers the procedures
and know-how to reach the same through a general consensus, the people
decides in a democratic and sovereign manner about the amendments to be
made and the contents of the same. This current value of the actual
laws, that is, the opportunity of containing in itself the key to amend
the law and be able to adjust the same to the needs and demands
requested to make a better society, may be accomplished if the people
that are legitimately capable of doing so, activate such a key.
This civic action proceeding is a
binding through excellence amongst a general wish and the judicial and
political structures of a society that practices democracy. The
functioning of the binding is a sign of a peaceful and gradual capacity
of evolution of a society, of its capacity to change and to go forward
gradually in a harmonic and gradual development, through the enhancement
of a quality of life.
That is why we propose to make changes
within the law. The law itself is capable of becoming better in
perfection and should be functioning to reach a common welfare with a
complete recognition of the human being. But there exists different
criterias about the changes needed in our society and within the
political environment, socially, economical and inclusive opinions
already found over the applicability of such changes or amendments.
The answer is not simple one and demands
the good will and a responsible attitude of all Cubans.
Then, are really the changes necessary?
To solve this matter is essential. But a
wise and fair answer can only be given a sovereign nation, with a
general consensus, in other words, with a referendum.
But, why these questions, these
By answering these proposals the people
gives to themselves the legal instruments to, through the exercise of
their rights, practice solidarity and to comply with their duties by
having a more full participation in the decisions that affects them, in
determining the direction our Nation will take and by creating a better
With these foundations it is the nation
itself who decides if there should be any changes or not, who will carry
out the changes as player and subject of its own history.
We are not offering a project or a
perfect model for a society, we are trying to present for consideration
the first step to create new and better conditions to a right we all
have. This way amongst all Cubans they believe and develop their own
project of society according to their sovereign will, commencing with
the spiritual values of our Nation and this experience in history and be
able to confront the challenges raised by the arrival of the new
Signing this petition does not mean, in
any way, to be in favor or to be associated with any enterprise or group
and also does not determine any kind of compromise with the people who
wrote it and present it for consideration. When a Cuban signs this
petition for a general consensus is exercising one of the rights the
present Constitution grants him to request a petition and contribute for
a free and solidarity way to improve our society, to seek a solution to
the problems our nation is having and to prepare a better future to our
children, here, in our own country.
THE FIVE PROPOSALS are self-explanatory:
THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREE
These rights and all Human Rights
existed before any one would declare them or write them, you and all
your fellow man have these rights because they are human being, because
they associate and express, defines the true and responsible way of a
citizen within society. When in the petition is made clear that the law
must guarantee these rights preserving the right to human dignity, to
human rights and to common welfare, we are anticipating any wrongful
fear against freedom of speech and free enterprise, since no one can
exercise their rights by attempting against the human dignity and
everybody else rights, including against a common welfare. At the same
time no one can say it is actually defending the common welfare by
declaring invalid the exercise of these rights, since a search for a
common welfare implies working a way of life in society where people are
able to completely fulfilled themselves, and this is impossible to a
accomplish if the human rights are not guaranteed.
In addition of being a right, there is
also the need of a society to have organizations that are independent,
no matter if they are temporary or permanent, to be able to give
citizens the opportunity to defend their interests, to form part of the
State decisions and to contribute in every social aspect and
contributing their efforts and initiatives in every field. The majority
of votes is not imposed by an order or decree, but should be respected
and guaranteed by law because it is a reality that not everybody thinks
the same way over something in general or in particular and is a right
one has, the fact of being able to interact and express your feelings,
according to their ideas and interests, so no one with their own ideas
or with any type of conditions can invalidate this right upon others. If
law would guarantee free interaction and expression, it certainly will
be closer to what the Constitution really represents, the right to
express a diversity of actual opinions within the society would be
acknowledged, more space for criticism will be opened, creativity would
be enhanced, the dialogue, and democracy will become more interactive,
the exercise of a general sovereign and therefore the foundations of a
National Independence will get more powerful.
The existence in our country of
political prisoners is a result from actions of individuals that act in
disregard of the law, like power abuse, arbitrarities and also violation
of the law by the authorities. Many have been detained because they
practiced he Human Rights to which the present law is not recognized.
This step is not a revision, is a step toward an improvement to society
that is aware of this need. Reconciliation cannot be given by a decree
but if it is desired by our nation and it is clearly stated in the
Referendum, granting amnesty, would open, through this act of
forgiveness and justice, a new era for a community that wishes so much
to overcome everything that was negative in the past and give itself the
opportunity of a new beginning. If the Cubans cannot reach an agreement
concerning the past, we do need to be in agreement about the future so
it can be one in peace, fraternity and freedom, for the welfare of our
THE RIGHT OF CUBANS TO CREATE
With the approval of this petition we
can reach a bigger participation of all citizens in the task of
satisfying the needs for a property and service to the population,
freeing the human capacity by working to upgrade the level and quality
of life, the freedom of people and families and to contribute to the
development of a nation.
The exercise of this right within the
regulations of the law to seek a common welfare will be a determinant
factor in the overcoming of insecurity and instability of the economic
activity of the citizens and would eliminate in great scale the illegal
expropriations and wrongful possessions of properties, stealing, the
corruption of employees and officers, the privileges taken through an
abuse of power, the parasitism, speculation and many causes with
differences, until now not able to rescue them, between the worker that
tries to survive with a salary and the one that through speculations or
a position with a certain way of power and authority is living a life
economically superior. This opening will be the reason to leave behind
improductivity, the very expensive negligence, unemployment in all its
forms and the poverty in which more and more Cubans sink in when they
are out of options or with a very poor salary, with no real value at
all. This poverty and the lack of options is one of the main causes for
the desire of many Cubans to emigrate, a phenomena that brings so many
disarrangement to the Cuban family. From here on the currency, and with
it the salary of workers, would begin to grab its real value.
The satisfaction from the consuming
needs of a nation and the control and democratic property by the workers
of a production media, does not limit itself to a state property,
which is one of, and not the only one, the ways of a social property.
The long waiting lines due to the scarcity of things, inefficiency and
precariously manner in which we have lived shows the need for an opening
of the citizen’s participation in the economic activity, in all
matters and property. This opening has to guarantee the right to all
Cubans to create private enterprises, either private property as well as
a cooperative, as well as mixed enterprises between workers and the
State. Will this be more difficult to accomplish as a right for Cubans
and amongst Cubans, that what has already being given to foreign
enterprises, the right, not only to participate but also to have, in
some cases, the whole property of an enterprise, in the same way a law
regulates the foreign investments?
Law will be able to harmonize the
participation of citizens, in a responsible and creative manner, in the
economic doing with a social orientation from a private enterprise, with
certain respect toward the consumer, with humanization of the work done,
with the guaranties of the worker’s rights and with certain social
security. This way the State could have a lot more resources to
guarantee, without depending from foreign support, the free services of
public health and education and any other type of social services and
care and would give them, not as fatherly structure, but as the
administrator of a common welfare, to which all citizens contribute, in
a responsible manner, exercising their rights and practicing solidarity.
A NEW ELECTORAL LAW
To be able to understand this proposal
it is necessary to pay attention to the two key elements of the
1. The list of candidates or nomination
of candidates, that is, the way it is determined who will be the
citizens amongst which the voters will vote for as their
representatives, either as delegates or as representatives.
2. The elections. We recommend the study of
the current Electoral Law if you do not remember their layouts and
analyze this proposal before making a decision.
According to the current law, the
candidates for Delegates before the Municipal Assemblies of the
"Poder Popular", are nominated by casting votes at public
assemblies by the voters of the corresponding district. Nonetheless, the
candidates for Delegates before the Provincial Assemblies and the
candidates for delegates before the National Assembly of the Poder
Popular by nominations given by the corresponding Municipal Candidates,
Commission; who at the same time receives proposals from the National
and Provincial Candidates’ Commission. The voters, according to the
current law do not participate directly in the nomination of candidates
to Delegates before the Provincial Assemblies, nor of the candidates for
Representatives before the National Assembly of the Poder Popular and in
addition, only one candidate is nominated for each position to be a
Representative before the National Assembly of the Poder Popular. For
example, if one municipality can have five representatives before the
National Assembly of the Poder Popular in the election ballot will only
appear five candidates and each voter can vote for one, for some, for
none of them or for the five of them. The voters cannot elect their five
representatives from a bigger number of candidates.
In the elections for Delegates before
the Municipal Assembly, the voters of each district select their
Delegate voting each voter for one candidate, the one who wishes to
select amongst several that are candidates to represent said district.
In what consists the petition we are
Consists in that the Delegates before
the Municipal Assembly, the candidates to Delegates before the
Provincial and the candidates to Representatives before the National
Assembly be nominated, that is be nominated and selected directly by the
voters of the corresponding district through their signatures of
support, without any intermediaries and solely in this manner.
That also several other candidates may
exist for each of the Delegate’s positions before the Provincial
Assemblies and of Representatives before the National Assembly, so this
way the voters of each district can have the option to select amongst
several the one of their preference, a possibility that the current law
does not offer. That the voters of each selected district select only
their Delegate before the Municipal Assembly, their Delegate before the
Provincial Assembly and their Representative before the National
Assembly of the "Poder Popular" and only one in each case, in
this way each individual being elected responds only before said voters,
that is, to those he represents.
Within a respect toward order and in
agreement with the voters, they amongst themselves and the nominated
candidates, the candidates, the Delegates, the Representatives may
associate and get together with the voters freely and without any kind
of intermediaries or guardians, during democratic assemblies and also be
able to use all communication’s media, which is considered a state’s
property and, therefore, should be at the service of all citizens
practicing a freedom of speech. With the approval of this petition we
move forward into a Democratic Participation in one of its basic
foundations; the citizen’s participation by selecting their
representatives and in the decisions of the different sections of the