Monday, June 19, 2006
How to help nominate Dr. Biscet for the Princes of Asturias Award for Concord.
From the Medicina Cubana Blog:
The Prince of Asturias Foundation was founded in the city of Oviedo on 24th September 1980 at a formal ceremony presided over by His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias, Heir to the throne of Spain, who was accompanied by his parents, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain.
The essential aims of the Foundation are to consolidate links between the Principality and the Prince of Asturias, and to contribute to encouraging and promoting scientific, cultural and humanistic values that form part of mankind's universal heritage.
The Prince of Asturias Awards were instigated to symbolize the nature and aims of the Foundation. They take their name from the title passed down through history to the Heir to the Spanish Throne, and are intended to acknowledge scientific, cultural and social work carried out at an international level, particularly within the Latin American community of nations, by individuals, work groups or institutions whose achievements are exemplary for Mankind.
The Prince of Asturias Foundation has organized the Prince of Asturias Awards since 1981. They are presented every year at a grand ceremony held in Oviedo, the capital of the Principality of Asturias, by His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias, who is the Honorary President of the Foundation.
The Foundation is celebrating the XXV anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards this year with a busy schedule of activities involving figures and organizations that have at some time won an Award in one of its categories.
Prince of Asturias Award for Concord.
The award will be bestowed upon the person, persons or institution whose work has made an exemplary and outstanding contribution to mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence amongst men, to the struggle against injustice, poverty, disease or ignorance, to the defense of freedom, or whose work has widened the horizons of knowledge or has been outstanding in protecting and preserving mankind's heritage.
Candidature of Dr Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez:
Dr. Oscar ElÃas Biscet GonzÃ¡lez was born of humble origin in Havana, Cuba on July 20, 1961. Dr. Biscet is the founder and president of the Lawton Foundation, an organization considered illegal by the Cuban government. The Lawton Foundation peacefully promotes the defense of all human rights through nonviolent civil disobedience. Dr. Biscet, is a follower of the Dalai Lama, Thoreau, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and wants to bring democracy and justice to Cuba.
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 Cubaâ€™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, and 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 Cubaâ€™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.
Presentation of candidatures :: Prince of Asturias Awards
Information about Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet
A.-Name: Dr. Oscar ElÃas Biscet
B.- Address: Prison Combinado del Este
C.- City: Havana
D.- Country: Cuba
E.- Phone : +537991774
F.- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
G.- Curriculum Vitae: Information above.