Cuba to see campaign for constitutional reform

A campaign aimed at bringing about constitutional reform in Cuba will soon be launched with the support of domestic and international opposition groups, a prominent dissident announced Wednesday.

The campaign will aim to gather the 10,000 signatures necessary under Cuban law to file a reform bid in the one-party state's national assembly.

"It is more important to change the nature of power than to change those exercising power," dissident Manuel Cuesta Morua told reporters as he presented the campaign, titled "Roadmap: toward constitutional change."

Manuel Cuesta said the bid would bring together several Cuba opposition groups and actively launch in May with events in Cuba, the US states of Florida and New Jersey, Puerto Rico and Spain.

In May 2002, the Christian Liberation Movement headed by the now deceased political activist Oswaldo Paya tabled a similar initiative in parliament that was backed by more than 10,000 signatures.

In response, lawmakers adopted a constitutional reform stating that the socialist nature of the Cuban regime was "irrevocable."

The previous reform attempt "stems from another era, today we think that the conditions are better for citizens to support an initiative of this kind," Manuel Cuesta said.

Cuba considers dissidents "mercenaries" in Washington's pay.