Updates on Oscar

December 15th, 2009

Recently, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, Cuba's most famous black political prisoner, has a message for the black American scholars, artists and professionals who signed a letter protesting racism in Cuba: (Audio only available in Spanish). Click here to listen.     {close}

September 23th, 2009

Biscet says Juanes sang for Cuban slaves

Cuban human rights activist Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet was unable to attend Juanes' "peace without borders" concert on Havana on Sunday — he was not allowed a furlough from the Combinado del Este prison, where he is serving a 25-year sentence — but he is not a fan.

In an interview with Radio Martí, Biscet compared the big show to when colonial slave owners gave their slaves a day off here and there in order to celebrate holidays with a big party.

The next day, like Monday in Cuba, they were still slaves.     {close}

July 19th, 2009

Dr. Biscet's Birthday: In His Own Words

"Today, on the eve of my 48th birthday, I write these lines from prison cell #1232. If this testimony from the box where I have been unjustly forced to live for almost 10 years now is of some interest to mankind, then publish it.

When I began advocating the philosophies of Gandhi and Thoreau, I remember those who commented that I would soon begin walking through the streets of Havana in a loincloth like Gandhi. Upon hearing these insults, I'd simply smile, as surely I would soon be subjected to this condition -- not in the streets of Havana, but in the indefinite confinement that I would face for such advocacy. Those that resorted to such insults, seeking to humiliate me, would not be mistaken after all, but it is through the humiliation of a man in loincloth that human dignity is reflected over barbarism.

When you ask me how I am doing, and I tell you that I am resisting, it is because the environment I find myself in is too brutal for any civilized man imprisoned for promoting ideas of love, the respect for human rights and the defense of life. Yet, I thank God as I awake every day, for in this dark and lonely cell, I know He is with me."

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, Cuban pro-democracy leader and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience serving a 25-year sentence, in a letter to his wife and the world.     {close}

May 27th, 2009

Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet has been nominated for the prestigious "Prince of Asturias Award" in Spain. More than 43,000 signatures from all over the world were submitted with Dr. Biscet's application. "Mensajeros de la Paz" (Messengers of Peace) an organization founded in Spain in 1962 by Father Angel García, who won the Concord award in 1994, sent a letter of support for Dr. Biscet. The winner of the Concord award will be known in September.     {close}

May 5th, 2009

Dr. Biscet's wife, Elsa, has not been able to visit her husband in over two months (she has been promised 2 hours every 6 weeks) and has been experiencing increased pressure from the government.     {close}

April 7th, 2008

Information on Incarceration Conditions and Health of Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, Cuban Prisoner of Conscience

Dr. Biscet is still imprisoned in cell 1232, located on the second floor of the south wing of building #1, in the Combinado del Este, a maximum-security prison located on the outskirts of the City of Havana.

Current Health Status:
During the regularly scheduled visit on March 27th, the following were observed: Chronic oral sepsis. Dr. Biscet advised that during the month of February, he presented another oral abscess and several painful bouts of inflammation and lost one more tooth. He has lost a total of 15 teeth, either partially or totally. During the past six months, his weight has dropped 40 pounds. He continues to refuse medical and dental attention from military doctors. He alleges that he does not trust these doctors to follow the established Medical Ethics Codes in his particular case. He seems to be doing well both psychologically and spiritually. On December 4, 2007, Dr. Biscet was taken to the Hospital Civil Oftalmológico where in our presence they performed a visual test to indicate the lenses required due to the loss of vision he presented (we were present when all of this took place.)

Incarceration conditions:
Dr. Biscet is kept in rigorous severe Phase II incarceration conditions. He is allowed two hour duration family visits every two months during which he is permitted to receive personal hygiene items and food as stipulated in the institution’s policies. He is allowed three hour duration marital visits every three months and one hundred minutes of authorized telephone calls a month. He is taken out for sun exposure twice a week but has not been allowed on the field to walk in the outdoors during the past month. The cell in which he lives has adequate dimensions and white washed walls but lacks a locker for personal belongings. The cell has artificial lighting and is ventilated only by the air which goes through the cracks on the walls. The cell door is open from outside once a day by an officer of the prison. The cell view consists of a cement wall; the cot on which he sleeps is a piece of wood covered by a thin and deteriorated mattress.

The cell is always humid. He must wash and hang his belongings inside the cell; water for consumption is stagnant and at room temperature. Medication, literature, correspondence and family pictures must be turned over to the officers who supervise visits to be checked by them away from our presence and for them to decide what can be given to my husband so it can be taken to his cell.     {close}

Oct. 30th, 2007

Health Status:
During the regularly scheduled visit on October 22nd, we were able to speak for two hours and the following conditions were observed:

Chronic oral sepsis with partial loss of teeth. This is a chronic condition that he has had for the past eight years of incarceration. He advised that during the past three months he has not presented acute infection of the gums nor painful bouts. He claims that he feels good and is continuing treatment for hypertension. He has gained ten pounds, has difficulties reading and needs a vision exam for eyeglasses. During the last few days, he presented gastrointestinal trouble supposedly related to his history of a gastroduodenal ulcer and chronic gastritis. He is still refusing medical attention from the military doctors in the prison. He is doing well psychologically and spiritually.

Incarceration conditions:
Dr. Biscet is being held under rigorous, severe, phase two incarceration conditions. Family visits are scheduled every two months for duration of two hours and conjugal visits are scheduled every three months for duration of three hours. Authorized telephone calls are limited to one hundred minutes per month but are not taking place regularly since the person assigned to connect the phone does not perform this duty consistently. Dr. Biscet reports that he is taken out for sun exposure twice a week but has not been allowed on the field to walk in the outdoors during the past month. A prisoner who was released gave him a used pupil’s desk to sit in and a used locker to store his personal belongings. The artificial lighting in the cell has improved.     {close}

December 1st, 2004

Biscet transferred from the Prison Kilo 8 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba to the prison Combinado del Este in Havana, Cuba.     {close}

October 31st, 2004

Dr. Biscet is moved from his isolation cell and refused to be examined by a group of medical doctors, including psychiatrists. Dr. Biscet refused to be filmed and interviewed by the cuban state attorney and prison guards, to whom he tells: "Down with the Castro dictatorship".     {close}

September 8th, 2004

Critical Conditions persist with political prisoner, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. I have not committed any indiscipline. I have only requested safety for me due to the difficulties within the prison. For that, no prisoner should be sanctioned, but if the authorities have allowed it by superior orders of the nation, I will comply with dignity to this unfair punishment. My spirit and my conscience are well.
-Dr. Biscet, Cell Block # 5 Prison Km 8, Pinar del Rio.

We received this note from my husband in jail August 26.     {close}

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