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Varela Project
Douglas Hamilton, Cuba Support Group, Ireland • 7 October 2003



Reporting on the submission of a petition to "parliament in Havana", George Tremlett (7 October 2003) states that a referendum on human and democratic rights, the so-called Varela Project, must be granted according to the Cuban Constitution. This is simply incorrect. There is nothing in the Constitution which carries with it the right to obligate the National Assembly to carry out a national referendum. Petitions backed by at least 10,000 eligible citizens have the right of legislative initiative, i.e. the right to present proposed legislation, but not to demand a referendum. When a similar petition was presented last year it was reviewed by a commission (similar to the process in the US and other countries) where it was ruled out as being unconstitutional.

Wilful misrepresentation of the Varela Project is not confined to the Irish Times, but has been widespread in the international media. This suggests a wider political agenda in sympathy with the increasingly aggressive and illegal stance towards Cuba of the Bush administration. Rather than report incorrectly, the Irish Times would have been better reporting on a statement on 2 October 2003 that the US administration is going to intensify its efforts to increase subversion and propaganda against Cuba. This statement included the unfounded and mendacious accusation that Cuba is developing a limited programme of biological weapons. In light of the rationale for invasion used by the US and Britain of non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the dangers facing Cuba should be only too clear.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas Hamilton

Belfast Co-ordinator
Cuba Support Group - Ireland

The above is a letter to the Irish Times which was not published.









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