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.
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.
Cuba Support Group - Ireland
above is a letter to the Irish Times which was not
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