Félix Varela y Morales, Educator, Priest, Social Activist 1787

Félix Varela y Morales was an educator, priest, social activist, writer and publisher.  He was born in Havana, Cuba, on November 20, 1787.  He was educated in Saint Augustine, Florida, when it was still under Spanish rule.  As a social reformer, Varela’s beliefs were far advanced for his era; he opposed both slavery and the monarchy.  As a result of these radical liberal views, he had to flee Cuba, and lived in exile in the US for about 30 years.  In New York, he founded three religious schools, two churches, and a hospital.A brilliant intellectual and educator, he promoted the ideals of democracy, and translated US President Thomas Jefferson’s “Manual of Parliamentary Practice” into Spanish. After his death, Varela received a truly American honor, with a commemorative postage stamp.

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