Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cause for Celebration: Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet turns 50 in Cuba

Happy Birthday Dr. Biscet!

“I’ve never stopped fighting since I took this road. I’ve followed the teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and applied them in prison too.” - Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet Gonzalez (2011)

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet born fifty years ago today on July 20, 1961.

He is a medical doctor by profession and Cuba's disciple of nonviolent resistance following in the path pioneered by Mohandas Gandhi in India and later followed by Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States by vocation.

Last month Dr. Biscet received an early birthday present from Irish rock n roller Bono of the band U2 who on June 29 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami gave the following shout out:
"Now I would like you to do something we've never done before. A beautiful man, a doctor who has spent his time in the prisons of Cuba. He is also released. His name is Dr. Biscet. I want you to hold him up. Let everyone in Cuba know that he is special to us and we are watching WE ARE WATCHING. Hold him in your thoughts. Hold him in your prayers."
Dr. Biscet responded to the shout out on his own blog stating:

And these compliments, although they fill me with emotion, do not affect my psyche, because I am convinced that his goal is to save my people from the Castro-communist dictatorship. I accept them, not as a personal praise but as a tribute to my heroic Cuban people.
He has been a prisoner of conscience twice. He was arbitrarily detained on November 3, 1999 after holding a press conference and recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. He was released from prison on October 31, 2002 only to be rearrested again on December 6, 2002 while meeting at a home to discuss human rights. In March of 2003 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and again he was recognized by Amnesty as a prisoner of conscience. He was finally freed on March 11, 2011.

This is his first birthday not spent in a prison cell since 1999.

Now thats even more reason to celebrate this his 50th birthday in freedom in Cuba not in exile.

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