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Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet
President of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights
Presidential Medal of Freedom
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It often comes in several individuals for their role in the history of mankind, these are: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and in other realms and territories, and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the pope Benedict XVI, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City and Vicar of Rome, and the Dalai Lama, spiritual symbol and leader of the Tibetan Government in Exile.
These celebrities have in common historic global leadership, and linked to hope and dignity of the faithful. Similarly are spiritual and political leaders with a fundamental mark for their people.
Other ideas that sometimes I think is that the followers of these distinguished people are reflections of their leaders and in most cases they behave well.
However, the events of March 15 when several dissidents occupied Catholic churches in the country, especially the 13 opponents, who came to the Basilica of the Church of Charity in Havana, the behavior of those who represent Benedict XVI not lived up to their responsibilities. These worthy Cubans demanded that the Pope in his homily for Cubans highlight the need for change that respects the dignity and fundamental human rights of our suffering people.
Surprising was the attitude of church leaders to order the expulsion by the forces of those faithful followers of Catholicism and promoters of humanism in Cuba. Also insulted the two publications were made in the official government newspaper.
But the saddest thing was that people called progressives and / or dissidents approve the censorship of these unique events in the nation for over thirty years. His words not only wounded the hearts of these lovers of liberty but also to history.
To say that this was inappropriate, irresponsible and intrusive is a contradiction of reality. This supports exposing irreverent as this was a radical action on the negative side of life.
But despite this sad situation, I rejoiced that the action of the occupants is not punishable at least by the word of God of the Bible, history and compendium of the science of non-violent mass civil disobedience by Gene Sharp .
Let us see what history says.
Martin Luther King also felt the painful weight of destructive criticism and in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, stated: "Was not Jesus an extremist for love?: Love your enemies, forgive those who sought to slander: do good to them that hate you and pray for those who maliciously abuse you and persecute you. And Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: I bear in my body the marks of our Lord Jesus Christ. And Martin Luther an extremist: They said I stand, I can not do otherwise, that God comes to my aid. And Jon Buyan: He remained in prison until the end of my days to kill before my conscience. And Abraham Lincoln: This nation can not survive half slave and half free. And Thomas Jefferson: For us there is self-evident truths, and one of them is that all men are created equal [...] ".
In the history of Cuba, in the same way, we have those great people who poured out their love to the end. Hatuey: invited him to repent of their struggle for freedom or the fire, and offered him life in heaven, and ask and you will be there, I said yes, and said then I do not want to be. Narciso Lopez and more than fifty of his comrades in their struggle against the Spanish Empire settled the Cuban flag in making Matanzas. Carlos Manuel Céspedes and his love for independence left all his property and privilege, and gave the cry of freedom and homeland. Bayamo And prior to return to slavery preferred to burn their city. And Antonio Maceo, to peace without independence, made the Protest of Baragua. And our apostle José Martí when he said, put the yoke on the star that illuminates and kills. And Tomas Estrada Palma, at the time military judge that he killed his mother explained: "The memory of my mother is too sacred for me to staining with a feeling of revenge." And the young men shot by Castro-Stalinist government that before dying they shouted long live Christ the King. And Orlando Zapata Tamayo who refused to eat until death to ensure respect for human rights. And John Wilfredo Soto who did not survive the beating of the political police when demanded freedom of expression. And Wilman Villar, died of starvation for basic freedoms. And Laura Pollan, his feet never got tired or spirit demanding freedom for their homeland.
And we keep saying King in his letter: "So the question is not whether we be extremists, but the kind of extremist we will be. ¿We will bring our ends to hate or to love? Will we extremism in the service of the preservation of injustice or the dissemination of justice? In the dramatic scene of the three men were crucified Golgotha. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime: the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and so they fell lower than the world around them. The other, Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and so he rose above the world around him. It may well be that the South, the nation and the world need a lot of extremists creators. "
Well, these young people were in search of good for his country and his purpose was the love, we can not say with Machiavelli: "The end justifies the means", but if presented as Christians, "the end justifies the means ".
I think that the end is love and love means, plus live under a Stalinist totalitarian dictatorship with no free space to mourn our sorrows and shout to infinity by the pain that welcomes us in this society filled with fear. For all this we can not condemn this act of courage and love, because they carry in their souls an intense desire for freedom for his people.
These people in their protest did not violate any law just and yes, unjust laws prohibiting claims of basic human rights for the Cuban people. And I'm not alarmed by this violation, for the same St. Augustine of Hippo left us the legacy that "an unjust law is no such law" or St. Thomas Aquinas: "An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in the eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just; Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. "
The science of non-violent mass civil disobedience exposed in the book of Democracy to Dictatorship G. Sharp recommends these methods of nonviolent action: come in and sit, come and stay standing, getting a rush, non-violent raid, invasion non-violent non-violent occupation; strike to stay on the site; civil disobedience neutral laws.
All these ecclesiastical and other creative people are critical not censorship of Pope Benedict XVI. Because the Cuban people and the God of the Bible are secure.
I pray to this God merciful savior and interventions of Benedict XVI, look at the face and soul of the Cuban people's suffering so that you can recall the prophet Isaiah:
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because Jehovah hath anointed me, sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison inmate, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord's will. There is no peace, saith my God, for the ungodly.

President George W. Bush speaks about the Bush Institute's launch of the Freedom Collection- March 28, 2012 PDF Print E-mail


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Statement by the George W. Bush Presidential Center on a phone call between President Bush and Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet González PDF Print E-mail

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Statement by the George W. Bush Presidential Center on a phone call between President Bush and Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet González

Posted: 27 Mar 2012 01:25 PM PDT

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 (Dallas, TX) – This morning, President George W. Bush spoke via telephone to Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet González, a freedom advocate who has spent 12 years in Cuban prisons for expressing his beliefs. Founder of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet remains in Cuba as a leading voice for the establishment of democracy in his country.  President Bush expressed his admiration for Dr. Biscet and the Bush Center’s support for those who seek liberty around the world.

During the call, he told Dr. Biscet that there is “one thing I want you to know that’s for certain:  I will continue to help as best I can.  I want you to know there are a lot of people who admire you and respect you and will continue to pray for you, including me.  To the extent we can, we will continue to press for not only your freedom, but the freedom of everyone who lives in your country.”

He continued, “One thing I admire, Oscar, is your great faith.  I think it’s an example of what the Bible sets out:  courage in the face of oppression.  You’re certainly living that out, and I really do pray for you.”

Dr. Biscet thanked President Bush for his support and for the support of the American people. He said, “We couldn’t do what we do without your help; we need your support. I want to thank you because when you remembered me, it gave me strength while I was imprisoned.”

They spoke in advance of the launch of the website of the George W. Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection, a living archive of the struggle for human freedom and democracy around the world.   Using video interviews, the Freedom Collection documents the personal stories of brave men and women who have led or participated in freedom movements from the 20th century to the present day.

The Freedom Collection  provides inspiration and insight to the current generation of freedom advocates and educates and informs those who live in free societies about the real challenges faced by those who live under tyranny and are fighting for their universal right to be free.

The Freedom Collection also includes a physical archive containing documents and artifacts from major freedom movements.  At Wednesday’s website launch, Dr. Angel E. Garrido, vice president of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, will donate artifacts to the physical archive on behalf of Dr. Biscet, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom which was awarded to him in absentia while he was in prison by President Bush.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian award. Dr. Biscet’s children and directors of the Lawton Foundation attended the ceremony at the White House on Nov. 5, 2007. Dr. Biscet and 74 other Cuban advocates of freedom had been arrested in 2003 in what came to be known as the Black Spring.  He requested that the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights hold the presidential medal until the time that Cuba is free. The medal will now be transferred to the Freedom Collection’s physical archive for safekeeping until that time.

The Freedom Collection website will be launched on Wednesday, March 28, and can be viewed at  The launch event will be live-streamed at at 5:45PM CDT.

Isaiah 10:1-4 PDF Print E-mail

1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,


2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.


3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?


4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.

A Brave Man Takes on Cuba's Brutal Regime. Will the Pope Help? PDF Print E-mail

A Brave Man Takes on Cuba's Brutal Regime. Will the Pope Help?


Oscar Biscet

Oscar Biscet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Police are in my house; bring summons for Oscar,” Tweeted Elsa Morejon at 11:50 Thursday morning from Havana. “Oscar” is her husband, Oscar Elias Biscet, the courageous physician who has spent 12 of his 50 years on earth in Fidel Castro’s prisons for expressing the opinion that Cubans should be free to speak their minds, to associate with whom they please, and to vote in fair elections.

On Wednesday, he voiced those opinions again in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. “My country continues to be run by a brutal regime that oppresses the people, systematically violating our basic freedoms,” he wrote. “Cuba is a police state…. They beat and harass anyone seeking peaceful political change.”

Thus, a knock on the door, and the summons to appear at the police station Friday at 9 a.m.

Biscet responded as any brave person responds in the Internet age. He is not cowed. Within minutes, Biscet and his wife ensure that a photo of the police who came to his door and a copy of the hand-written summons are circulating around the world.


Handwritten summons issued to Oscar Biscet, March 22, 2012

Soon after, I learn from one of Biscet’s supporters that Oscar has no intention of showing up at the police station. Biscet says, I am told, that “if he lived in a democracy, he would have to attend, but since he lives in a dictatorship and has not committed any crimes, he will not present himself.”


Over the years, Biscet has been charged with committing such Orwellian offenses as “dangerousness,” which is defined as a “special proclivity of a person to commit crimes demonstrated by his conduct in manifest contradiction of socialist norms.”

In 2003, he was sent to prison, along with 74 other freedom advocates in Fidel’s Black Spring round-up.

In his Wall Street Journal piece, Biscet says he personally witnessed prisoners beaten to death for requesting medical attention, and three prisoners tried to assassinate him on two separate occasions. In 2007, while still in prison, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. Almost exactly a year ago, he was released.

Some of his comrades in these “living hells,” as Biscet calls Cuban prisons, were exiled to Spain with no chance to return under the Castro regime. Biscet chose to remain in Cuba and to continue speaking out


And he is asking for help. He wants Pope Benedict XVI, who arrives in Havana Monday for a two-day visit, to pressure the Castros to hold free elections and allow Cubans their God-given rights. As Pope John Paul II did in Eastern Europe, Pope Benedict could be in the vanguard of winning freedom for the Cuban people.

So far, the prospects are not good. Cuba’s Cardinal, Jaime Ortega, with police help, recently evicted 13 dissidents who had camped out in a church “in an attempt to push the Pope to talk to the Castros about human rights,” according to a scathing Washington Post editorial that charged Cardinal Ortega with becoming “a de facto partner of Raul Castro.”

The good news is that Oscar Biscet – and many, many others like him on the island – are not giving up. Despite the Cuban regime’s efforts, they are acquiring the non-violent tools of communication to make their work more effective.

There are now about two million cell phones in Cuba for a population of 11 million people, a penetration rate that’s the lowest in the hemisphere – below even Haiti . Mobile phones are expensive to buy and to use (national calling rates are 45 cents a minute; equivalent to $1.85 in the U.S.), but Cubans are resourceful and adept at lower-cost texting. They are also geniuses at tying illegal satellite dishes together to connect with the outside world.

Internet access is abysmal, but, again, Cuban dissidents are managing to get their Tweets to the outside world. A few days ago, for example, Yoanni Sanchez, Cuba’s most famous blogger, Tweeted that Cuban authorities had cut off Biscet’s mobile phone.

On Wednesday, the Heritage Foundation and Google sponsored a conference on “How the Internet Can Thaw an Island Frozen in Time.” Among others, featured Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla); Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas and my former State Department colleague; and Carlos Garcia Perez, who heads the Office of Cuba Broadcasting at the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Garcia Perez is pushing his organization beyond radio and television and into the Internet age, with text messages and other high-tech means to tell the Cubans what is happening in their own country and the world.

Can an island so close to the United States still, in the 21st Century, shut itself off from the kind of modern communications that will, inevitably, bring freedom? I doubt it seriously, and so did the members of the panel I moderated at the conference.

Cuba is at a tipping point. The Castros are deathly afraid. That’s why they want to lock up Alan Gross, a 62-year old American, for 15 years for merely distributing communications equipment to Cuban Jews.

The Internet, mobile phones, satellite dishes, Facebook, Google, and Twitter cannot by themselves bring freedom to Cuba. But they are a means that did not exist a decade ago. Thanks to the courage of Óscar Biscet and many more like him, technology can push this oppressive regime over the edge.


James K. Glassman is executive director of the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas. He is a former Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy and chair of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

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