The Catholic magazine Espacio Laical considers that any reform in Cuba that seeks to be truly significant must start with the ruling Communist Party, which it asked not to lose the chance at its next national conference to create "substantial changes."

"In Cuba, any reform aspiring to be significant has to include political innovation, and that will not happen if it doesn't start with the PCC (as the party is known), the organization called to lead the way with the changes all of us must carry out," Espacio Laical says in an editorial appearing in this week's edition.

The magazine warns that no reform can be successful "without a political force doing the work of building consensus based on the country as it really is."

"We urge the First National Conference of the PCC, in this final phase of the so-called historic generation that will outline substantial changes and call on the people to make them a reality, not to waste this opportunity," Espacio Laical said.

On Jan. 28 the PCC will hold its First National Conference to review the organization's work and in which changes and guidelines are expected for an eventual transfer of power to a new generation, as President Raul Castro requested at April's party congress.

At that meeting, Cuba's only legal party approved the plan of economic reforms promoted by Raul Castro, who was also elected as PCC first secretary to replace his brother Fidel, who left office in 2006 because of illness.

The PCC recently released the basic document for the upcoming First National Conference, which includes, among other items, the proposal that Gen. Castro made in April to gradually replace officials and limit the terms of political and state offices to a maximum of 10 years.

But the Espacio Laical editorial criticizes the document for making no mention of "countless subjects people were hoping for" and presents a party "sticking to dogmas that have already failed and clinging to a very vertical relationship with society."

The magazine, a publication of the Laity Council of the Archdiocese of Havana, says that "in Cuba we need important economic, social, political, spiritual and even symbolic changes," and that the most important thing is "the reestablishment of citizenship."

"It is essential that all Cubans can - and want to - take part in promoting ideas for national change in open debate, as well as in approving those ideas for which a consensus is reached, and in the execution of policies aimed at enacting them," the editorial says.