Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oscar's Testimony before Congress

On Thursday, February 16 Cuban human rights defender Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet testified by phone from Havana, Cuba to a Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Congressman Chris Smith of the fourth district of New Jersey. Below is an English translation of Biscet's testimony that is also available in the original Spanish.

Dr. Biscet and Rep. Smith

Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet
President, The Lawton Foundation for Human Rights
February 16, 2012
House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights

I'm Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet.

Internal Medicine Specialist First grade.

President of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights.

Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.

The testimony that I expound here before the Subcommittee on Africa, General Health and Human Rights of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, and in the presence of the Biblical God, is only the truth of the facts of what has occurred.

I express my gratefulness for this invitation to my compatriot and great defender of freedom of the Cuban people Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, and my admiration for the selfless work in the cause of Cuba of Cuban-American Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart, David Rivera, Albio Sires, Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio. Cordial salutation to all the most excellent personalities gathered here today.

The Cuba I live in is a society of fear. This is led by a totalitarian regime of communist Stalinist type since 1959. This regime has as its essential characteristics of being: anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-black. Their stay in power is due to the use of state terror and extreme police control of the citizens.

The dictatorship of the Castros commits gross and systemic human rights violations of the Cuban people. The lack of basic freedoms in the society motivated me to become a human rights activist, and to conquer those rights for the Cuban people through nonviolent resistance.

These humanitarian objectives led me to pass through serious vicissitudes imposed by the political police of the Castro government. The most terrible events were:

When I presented at a conference on the right to life to my colleagues, a mob of Communist Party members interrupted it and violently expelled me from the Maternal Child classroom at the Hospital "Tenth of October", in 1998. From this date I have never been able to exercise the noble medical profession by prerogative of the communist government of Cuba.

Also, in those days, my wife and son were threatened and blackmailed to leave me. Their firm decisions to remain at my side have cost my wife her expulsion from work and my son the inability to begin his studies at the university. We were all evicted from the house, - doctor's office that my wife worked with an exemplary attitude as a graduate with a degree in nursing. During that period I had been detained more than two dozen times. I had been placed in walled in cells together with murderers with personality disorders who had just committed acts of blood.

The political police have beaten me, have disfigured my face and provoked a dental fracture. On another occasion they fractured my right foot. These agents in compliance with the orders of the dictatorship sought to coerce and intimidate me through torture and cruel and inhuman treatment with the goal that I desist from my humanitarian activism.

Failing to achieve their objectives they imprisoned me for nearly twelve years. However, if these acts were performed only on my person then they would have no historical significance. The big problem is that these aberrations and violations of human dignity are committed against the general population and those detained in the prisons of the country.

The Cuban socialist prison system does not meet the minimum requirements for inmate care provisions of the United Nations. In this they tortured me but also especially my family.

But more troublesome is that three inmates on different occasions attempted to murder me, two of which were hired by military functionaries of the interior.

Some of the torture and cruel or inhuman treatments observed or suffered in the socialist prisons are:

Persons prone with hands handcuffed to their back with their feet. Kept in this position for more than twelve sometimes even more than twenty-four hours. Handcuffed hands with arms outstretched overhead and toes slightly supported off the ground. The time duration equal to the previous cited case. The use of tasers as weapons of psychological and physical torture.

For searches the prisoner was stripped in the group without any regard to human decency.
Denial and use of health care as a retaliation against inmates. Of these there are many cases but will discuss only two that impressed me as a human being who knows the medical sciences:

I was in the punishment cells of the prison “Cuba Si”, of the Holguin province in 2002. An inmate in protest against the prison authorities introduced an object, cutting himself, in the abdomen. He spent two days in that state until I became aware of the case and made a strong protest and they took him to the hospital; was operated on for acute peritonitis.

A young inmate with chronic but not transmittable diseases: asthma and heart valve pathologies. He was compensated but had a turn with the doctor. They did not take him and he demanded to be taken. This request was denied and they beat him so intensely that they killed him. This occurred in the second floor of the first building of the “Combinado del Este” prison in 2010.

The stay of prisoners are in cells under inhuman conditions: no natural light or at times artificial, no drinkable water, no ventilation, overcrowding, living with vectors and others.

The dozens of political prisoners suffer the same human miseries even worse coexisting with common offenders utilized by the prison authorities to break their position of contestation.

I want to take this opportunity to greet two patriots and freedom lovers of humanity to testify in this committee. The former Cuban political prisoner of the cause of the 75 of the Black Spring in 2003, Norman Hernandez and Indiana Representative Dan Burton; promoter with Senator Jesse Helms of The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996. This magnificent political and legal instrument applied all chapters and articles to persuade and encourage all free nations to solidarity and the pursuit of changes that lead to freedom and democracy to the Cuban people.

The dictatorship of the Castro brothers have been in every shameful and reprehensible world events but will only make some references: unconditional support for the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet imperialism in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979. Also in this century, at the end of its first decade, the expansionist Russian invasion of Georgia. Unlimited defense of the despotic regimes of S. Milosevic, S. Hussein, and M. Gaddafi. Military training and logistical support to the narco-guerrillas in Colombia and the presence of bases of operations of Muslim extremists from Hezbollah and Hamas in Cuba.

To continue this policy of indifference and coldness to the Cuban Communist hierarchy, I fear that before long we will have a new missile crisis, in the style of October 1962. But now the actors would be Cuba-Venezuela, Iran and the United States.

Tomorrow we will celebrate with pride the fourth anniversary of the independence of Kosovo. Five years ago you the Americans promised Kosovo Albanians your decided support for their independence. They did so with so much firmness, honor and love that many countries joined this just cause and succeeded. This is the support that I ask of you that my people be free and sovereign.

Thank you very much.

No comments:

Post a Comment