A group of Cuban dissidents on Tuesday made a new call for the unity of "democratic forces" in a declaration that seeks to consolidate civic actions for political and economic change on the Communist-ruled island.

The "Declaration of Unity" was presented in Havana by 12 members of the opposition including Guillermo Fariñas and former political prisoners Oscar Elias Biscet, Jose Daniel Ferrer and Guido Sigler.

The new proposal aims to be a "first step toward consolidating the unity that will make a comprehensive project possible for creating a new nation" in Cuba, where dissidents are currently fragmented into dozens of groups.

Biscet told foreign journalists that the project's fundamental goal is to "win over" the Cuban people and attract their participation in what will hopefully become a viable way "to achieve democracy on the island."

He said the group that signed the document on Tuesday embraces "different ideas from the ideological and political points of view" and is an example of the unity they are seeking.

With regard to the many and varied political projects that exist among the internal opposition, Biscet said that "they're all valid" but "the important thing is to seek union among the majority."

"What is necessary is that we can all sit down together one day with those projects and integrate our ideas, and come up with either a single institution or have two or three, not 500 groups like there are now," he said.

Fariñas, whom the European Parliament honored last year with the Sakharov Prize, said that the "Declaration of Unity" was conceived as a document open to modifications that will even accept suggestions and criticism from other organizations.

The declaration proposes working for democratic change and a "modern, developed and highly efficient" economy on the island.

It also seeks to strengthen human rights in Cuba, promote non-violent civic struggle and consult Cuban citizens in order to prepare a "project for a nation" that represents the aspirations of all.

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