The award was established to honor the memory of Father Félix Varela y Morales, an American intellectual of Latino origin who founded one of the first Spanish-language newspapers in the United States, in the city of Philadelphia, at the beginning of the 19th Century.

FElix Varela

A Catholic priest born in Cuba in 1788 who lived most of his life in the US. He came to Philadelphia, PA, in 1824.

Varela y Morales became that year in this city the founder of “El Habanero”, the first of several newspapers he published in the US.

“El Habanero” saw the light in Old City Philadelphia, the cradle of our Democracy and the Free Press.

Father Varela was also a prolific writer and the author of multiple essays on cooperation between the English and Spanish-speaking communities.

Father Varela translated into Spanish important English-language books, including Thomas Jefferson’s “Manual of Parliamentary Practice.”

In 1997 the United States Postal Service honored Varela by issuing a commemorative stamp.