Here at Riptide, we usually don’t have much good to say about President Bush. But today we do. Today, the President will honor Oscar Elias Biscet with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Biscet is a Cuban doctor. He is also a political prisoner in Cuba, serving a 25-year sentence for opposing Fidel Castro’s regime. Instead of being able to travel to accept his award, Biscet is locked in a squalid Havana hellhole.
A member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights described Biscet’s living conditions like this: "windowless and suffocating, with wretched sanitary conditions. The stench seeping from the pit in the ground that serves as a toilet is intensified by being compressed into an unventilated cell only as wide as a broom closet. . . . Biscet reportedly suffers from osteoarthritis, ulcers, and hypertension. His teeth, those that haven't fallen out, are rotted and infected."
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His crimes: “disrespecting patriotic symbols,” speaking out against abortions and founding a human rights group on the island.
Today, Biscet’s son, Yan Valdes Morejon (who lives in Miami) will accept the award in Washington D.C. on behalf of his father. Morejon wrote a moving piece for the Boston Globe this weekend, and to honor Biscet -- and all the other political prisoners suffering in Castro's jails -- go here to read it.