On September 15, 1997 the United States Post Office issued a postage
stamp honoring Padre (Father) Felix Varela Morales.
Felix Varela Morales was born in Havana, Cuba November 20 1788 and died
in St. Augustine Florida February 25 1853. He was the leading educator,
philosopher and patriot in Cuba of his time. He taught Philosophy, Chemistry,
Physics, Theology and Music. Many of the great Cuban leaders were his
students. He was the first Cuban abolitionist.
In 1821, he was elected a member to the Spanish Cortes (Legislature)
where he recommended the recognition of the independence of the Spanish
colonies in Latin America and the development of commercial relations
based on a common, language, history and culture. For Cuba, he asked for
self-rule within the Spanish empire and an end to slavery. Because of
his progressive ideas, in 1823 he had to flee Spain to the U.S. and was
condemned to death in absentia by the Spanish Crown.
For the rest of his life, Father Varela lived in the United States. He
was assigned to a parish in New York City, where many Irish immigrants
lived, at a time when religious and ethnic difficulties were prevalent.
He helped during the terrible cholera epidemic of 1832 and when the Irish
began to arrive by the thousands he became their protector. During his
time in the U.S. from his arival in 1823 until his death in 1853 he "dedicated
himself to social reform and was a constant champion for the civil rights
of immigrants --specially the Irish people--, the poor women, youth, children
and the sick. " (according to Dr. Amalia Varela de la Torre).
He published many newsletters, magazines and books. "Years later Jose
Marti acknowledged Varela's contributions to the Cuban independence movement:
'He was the man who taught us how to think'" (according to "The Cuban
American Family Album").
Please help commemorate the memory of this Cuban patriot by purchasing
and using these postage stamps.
To get more details on the stamp, visit the US Postal Service Stamps
On Line web site. Just follow the links to "Collectors Corner"
--> "Index of Stamp Issues" -->"1997 Issues" and look for the "Padre
If they are not available at your local post office, you can purchase
the stamps directly from the US Postal Service by telephoning (in the
US): 1-800-782-6724. You cannot yet purchase collector stamps on-line,
but the USPS promises this service will be available soon.
If you need additional information on Padre Felix Varela, contact the
Padre Felix Varela Foundation at the following address:
Padre Felix Varela Foundation,Inc.
15630 S.W. 42 Lane
Miami, FL 33185