If you read yesterday’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean you know that President Bush has awarded Cuban political prisoner Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor:
Oscar Elias Biscet is a champion in the fight against tyranny and oppression. Despite being persecuted and imprisoned for his beliefs, he continues to advocate for a free Cuba in which the rights of all people are respected.
Mary Anastasia O’Grady explains how Dr. Biscet came about to his path as a dissident:
He is a medical doctor. He got his degree in 1985 and just the next year he started having problems with the government and the way it operates its medical system.
But in 1998 what the did was, he started investigating the use of a drug called rivenal to achieve abortions of advanced pregnancies and he produced a study which showed that the fetuses were actually being born alive and then the umbilical cord was cut and they were allowed to bleed to death or they were being asphyxiated in paper bags, and he produced a study, he presented it to the government, and he also denounced the government for its policies.
He was fired from his job, and things have gone from bad to worse for him in the sense that his conscience just did not allow him to go back.
You can watch Ms O’Grady’s WSJ interview here.
In her article, Ms O’Grady explains,
In 1998, at a Havana hospital, he took the risk of engaging in a clandestine study on the administration of a drug called rivanol to abort advanced pregnancies. The drug was being widely used, particularly on girls as young as 12, who, having been forced to leave their parents and work in rural areas as part of their schooling, found themselves “in trouble.”
Let me call attention to the fact that children are forced to do this: they belong to the state as soon as they turn twelve years old. Many of the girls are raped by adults in charge of the farms. I know a woman who was raped under those circumstances: there was no possibility of prosecuting the man who raped her. Fortunately she did not get pregnant.
Ms O’Grady’s article continues,
The study concluded that rivanol resulted in viable fetuses being born alive. What often happened next horrified Dr. Biscet, who later wrote that, “the umbilical cord was cut and they were allowed to bleed to death or they were wrapped in paper and asphyxiated.”
As a result of his vocal opposition to these abortion practices he lost his job, his family lost their home and Castro’s goons were sent to beat him up.
These are the conditions under which Dr. Biscet is held when in solitary confinement:
I have translated the video:
In the video, Dr. Biscet’s wife, Elsa Morejon, explains (at great risk to herself) that this is a full-scale replica of the dungeon in which Dr. Biscet was imprisoned, “despite the fact that Cuba has signed international agreements and rules on prisoner treatment”.
Ms Morejon points to a piece of paper with her husband’s words on the front wall of the dungeon. Dr. Biscet spent the months of November and December, 2004, including New Year’s Eve, in a dungeon like it. She points to the narrow slot on the door, for delivery of food, and in some dungeons the slots are positioned at different heights. “There are no windows, no lights since for a while he didn’t have a light bulb, no ventilation, in Cuba, a country with very high temperatures”.
Inside the dungeon she points to a pipe for water, a hole for latrine. She shows the actual shoes he owned during that period, and how the leather rotted. She lists the meager possessions a prisoner is allowed: underwear, a towel, a sheet, toothpaste, cup, toothbrush, soap, deodorant, sometimes prisoners are allowed to have their Bible with them. No bed is provided. The prisoner sleeps on the floor, and “sometimes they are brought a filthy mattress at 10PM”.
The food they are given is unfit for human consumption.
Ms Morejon asks, “We ask the world to intercede and ask Cuba to set my husband free. He’s a man who loves God and justice, who believes in non-violence, and shouldn’t be there [in prison], because all he’s asked for is to live in democracy in his own country”.
Notice how both videos point to a total disregard for human life.
Dr. Biscet’s activism started when he saw how newborn children were murdered. Now he is suffering for his decency.
Dr Sanity has posted on the illness of the soul of the island prison’s regime:
The apologists of tyranny are again hard at work trying to redeem the one of the last outposts of communist enslavement. They see a “worker’s paradise”; a “healthcare utopia”, but underneath the civilized veneer of Castro’s Cuba is the same deadening illness of the soul that infected all the other failed communist and socialist “paradises”.
And for that illness, the only cure is Freedom.
(Follow the links at my post for more on the subject.)