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free Oscar Biscet!

This guy got 25 years in prison for flying a flag upside down.
Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, is a 39 year-old Afro-Cuban physician, a spiritual man and a follower of the philosophies of Thoreau, Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. This human rights activist was unjustly sentenced to three years in prison on February 26 of this year for the crime of flying the Cuban flag upside down (an internationally recognized symbol of distress) as a way of protesting the human rights abuses in Cuba.

As head of the Lawton Foundation, a human rights group considered an illegal organization in Cuba, he was charged with "insulting symbols of the fatherland", "public disorder" and "instigation to commit crime". He is currently serving his sentence at the notorious "Cuba Si'' prison in Cuba's Holguin province, on the eastern side of island, making it extremely difficult for his family to visit him from Havana. Dr. Biscet has been beaten, repeatedly threatened, humiliated, blackmailed, subjected to brutal interrogations and thrown into cells with insane convicts and common criminals.

As a non-violent activist struggling to bring about democracy, justice and freedom to Cuba, Dr. Biscet embodies all the dreams, hopes and frustrations of 11 million Cubans in the island. As its victim, he represents everything that is horribly wrong with the 41 year old tyrannical regime of the dictator Fidel Castro.

By using non-violent means to expose the crimes of the government of Cuba, and by being a young, charismatic black man he threatens to demystify all the lies of the revolution of 1959. For this he has been singled out; and when dictator Fidel Castro personally condemned Biscet as a counter-revolutionary "ringleader'' before his trial, his fate was sealed.

Why is Castro threatened by Dr. Biscet? Because Castro's revolution was supposed to make a "New Man". It was supposed to free the blacks of Cuba from discrimination and oppression. It was supposed to create a new generation of Cubans who would espouse the communistic ideals for a better world. Afro-Cubans are supposed to be grateful to the "man" for bringing about
equality. Dr. Biscet proves that the revolution failed. The revolution has created a generation of disaffected young people who are clamoring for freedom and the right to choose their destinies. It has created a generation who is willing to risk their lives by fleeing the oppressive state of Cuba in makeshift rafts. And it has created a generation of men and women who are willing to risk going to jail in their efforts to bring about changes in Cuba.

Before his sentence Dr. Biscet had been arbitrarily detained 26 times in 18 months. On February 1998 he was expelled from the Cuban National Health System and he and his family were evicted from his home. On several occasions, Cuba's State Security tried to subject Dr. Biscet to psychiatric examinations and pressured him to leave Cuba, to which he has reiterated that
he will never abandon his country. He knows that the struggle is in Cuba and that in order to bring about change, one has to stay and fight from the inside.

Dr. Biscet has continued his fight for justice from prison. He has staged protests against Cuba's violation of human rights at the prison with acts of civil disobedience, such as fasting and holding prayer services. Consequently, he was punished by being locked up in solitary confinement for
42 days in an unlit cell. He has lost 20 pounds and suffered from a serious gum infection that went untreated and caused three of his molars to fall out.

Dr. Biscet has told his family he fears for his life and highly distrusts the medical personnel at the prison facility. In addition, all his mail sent from prison has been intercepted and his Bible has been confiscated.

So who is Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet? He is a man declared prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He is Castro's worst nightmare. He is a man wrongly imprisoned for believing in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dr. Biscet is Cuba's New Man. He is Cuba's hope for the future.

homepage: homepage: http://www.free-biscet.org/

spam spam spam spam 15.Jan.2004 13:49

human rights activist

It's funny how the neoconservatives have seized on to this case instead of the numerous other human rights abuses in the world, or even in cuba. Could it be because Dr. Biscet happens to be an anti-abortion activist? Could it be because he agrees with them that Cuba should be fought by the US in the "war against terror"?

Anyone interested in seriously working on human rights and political prisoner issues should check out amnesty international's online library for details.

Amnesty International 15.Jan.2004 14:42

you

Actually, Biscet is regarded by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.

Why are you spamming this article? Is it because it is Castro who has thrown this man in a dungeon for 25 years -- simply for burning a flag? Are you afraid people won't support Cuba's revolution if they know about Biscet and other political prisoners there?

hehe 15.Jan.2004 15:12

human rights activist

You must not be used to people calling you on your shit; it's a shame.

"Biscet is regarded by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience"

I never said he wasn't; I merely pointed out that certain people (with a particular set of ideologies) have seized upon his case while ignoring others, in this country, in cuba, and across the globe. That's not a coincidence; there is a reason they are only supporting this individual.

It is classic for neoconservatives (not to mention neoliberals) to only support human rights measures when they further their political agenda. That's why the US supported the Taliban in the 80's despite their record of abuses and why the US supports the Northern Alliance now, despite their equally appalling record. That's why the US support Saddam Hussein and the Baathists for 30 years (or more, depending on whether you consider the sanctions to have hurt or helped Hussein's regime). And so now some individuals who are looking to further their anti-cuba ideology are seizing upon the one prisoner closest to themselves in belief (anti-abortion, pro-christian) while showing a complete disregard for other prisoners. Their aims are transparent. I just thought I would call some attention to it. Certainly people need to support efforts to free political prisoners, but let us be wary of those who lack any desire to see human rights furthered in any way outside their own myopic campaign.

Though amnesty international certainly has its faults, it is a great source of information about prisoners of conscience. For those who would see Biscet freed in accordance with amnesty's recommendations, would they also support those recommendations for prisoners of conscience within the United States?

actually 15.Jan.2004 15:53

me

I think it's funny that certain people, with certain ideologies, continue to praise Castro and his revolution, while people there are put in jail for flying a flag upside down along with other minor "offenses".

For comparison's sake, let's look at the U.S. Supreme Court where Antonin Scalia voted along with the majority to permit people to burn the U.S. flag. Since you can argue that most flag burners are not on the same side politically as Scalia, this means that a conservative has affirmed the right of his political enemy to dissent. I'd rather live in a country where freedom to dissent is enshrined in the law. I think such a country is the moral better of Castro's cuba.

And that leads me to your other point -- Human Rights -- about whether people who support Cuba's political prisoners also would work to free prisoners elsewhere including the U.S. The answer, in my case, is yes. I am against the death penalty, for instance. However, I do not see so-called "political prisoners" such as Mumia or Peltier as being worthy of such designation or the time and efforts to "free" them.

thanks for proving my points 15.Jan.2004 16:12

human rights activist

.

If you think that by refuting your points that I've proven them somehow... 15.Jan.2004 16:18

you

... then you're welcome.

P.S. Would you work to free political prisoners in countries with repressive regimes if you agree with their ideology?