The Guardian June 26, 2002

Eight million Cubans sign for socialism

More than eight million people supported the constitutional reform 
project which declares Cuba's socialist system on the island since 1961 
immovable and untouchable.

The process of gathering signatures to support an initiative that ratifies 
the will of the Cuban people to defend their political, economic and social 
order took place at 129,523 polling places over a three-day period. Cuba 
has 8,069,804 registered voters.

In a radio and television address, Pedro Ross, Secretary General of Cuba's 
main labour union, said that the revolutionary spirit remains strong with 
all the people.

The request to amend the 1976 Constitution also declares that economic, 
diplomatic and political relations with another nation "can never be 
negotiated under aggression, threat or pressure from a foreign power".

Speaking at a meeting after becoming the first citizen to sign the 
petition, President Fidel Castro said that the hostile and anti-Cuban 
speeches of George W Bush motivated Cuba's social organisations to request 
the reforms from the Magna Carta.

"Imperialist domination and the capitalist system will never return to 
Cuba", said Fidel Castro before more than 50,000 people gathered to pay 
tribute to independence fighter, Antonio Maceo, and the legendary Cuban-
Argentine guerrilla fighter, Ernesto Che Guevara.

Speaking from the White House and in Miami on May 20, Bush demanded that 
the Cuban Government conduct free elections and introduce political, 
economic and social change as a condition for lifting the unilateral 
blockade imposed by the US for more than four decades.

The declaration contained in the petition was the reply of the Cuban 
Government and people to Bush's threats.

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