Monday, February 27, 2012

EEUU: Opositor cubano Biscet testifica vía telefónica ante Congreso por DDHH / Cuban dissident tells Congress Pope must intervene in Cuba

Publicado el jueves 16 de febrero del 2012

EEUU: Opositor cubano Biscet testifica vía telefónica ante Congreso por DDHH

El médico y opositor cubano Oscar Elías Biscet, que fue liberado en marzo de 2011 por el régimen castrista, atestiguó este jueves vía telefónica ante un subcomité del Congreso estadounidense para abordar la situación de los derechos humanos en la isla, constató la AFP.
La sesión fue convocada por la Cámara de Representantes y la conexión telefónica con Biscet se hizo desde la sede de la Sección de Intereses estadounidense en La Habana, explicó el presidente de la audiencia, el representante republicano Chris Smith.
“La Cuba en que vivo es una sociedad llena de miedo”, dijo Biscet, encarcelado en varias ocasiones por sus actividades políticas.
Biscet, de 50 años, describió ante miembros del comité de Relaciones Exteriores y de un subcomité sobre Derechos Humanos sus actividades y las condiciones de detención que ha sufrido durante años en las cárceles de su país.
Luego atacó al régimen cubano, que a su juicio tiene “como características esenciales ser antiamericano, antisemita y antinegro”.
Biscet, al que el gobierno estadounidense de George W. Bush (2001-2009) le otorgó la Medalla de la Libertad en 2007, acusó al gobierno de Raúl Castro de “cometer violaciones flagrantes y sistemáticas del pueblo cubano”.
“Apreciamos profundamente que el doctor Biscet tome el serio riesgo de represalias por hablar con nosotros públicamente”, dijo Smith al presentar la llamada.
La audiencia fue protagonizada por legisladores de origen cubano en el Congreso, declarados anticastristas, que regularmente buscan endurecer el embargo contra la isla.
Al ser preguntado sobre la posibilidad de ser detenido al intentar regresar a su domicilio tras la audiencia, Biscet señaló: “Todo es posible (…) estamos bajo una superprisión”.
El comité de Relaciones Exteriores de la Cámara de Representantes está presidido por la cubanoestadounidense Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, que ya ha organizado varias audiencias sobre la isla en los últimos meses y que busca revocar las medidas de flexibilización del embargo promulgadas por el presidente Barack Obama en los últimos tres años.

Posted on Thu, Feb. 16, 2012

Cuban dissident tells Congress Pope must intervene in Cuba

Speaking by telephone direct from Cuba, one of the country’s best-known political dissidents on Tuesday told Congress that Pope Benedict XVI should use his power and visibility as a world leader to shine a light on human rights abuses and political oppression under the Castro regime during his upcoming visit to the communist island nation.
If he has an opportunity to meet with the pope, he will ask him to be an advocate for the oppressed, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee. He spoke through a translator in testimony delivered over the telephone from Cuba.
"I would say to him, that I would love for him to lobby for our freedom of speech and for a multi-party system, so that everyone can participate and be represented," Biscet said. "We hope that his coming will bring great change to our country."
The congressional committee did not announce Biscet's name before the hearing, out of concern that Cuban authorities would detain him before he was able to testify from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. During the hearing, Biscet's photo was projected on two separate video screens. His image was on several posters propped up along the wall in the hearing room.
President George W. Bush awarded Biscet the Medal of Freedom in 2007 while he was still serving a 25-year sentence for his opposition to Fidel Castro's regime. Biscet accused the Cuban government in the mid-1990s of allowing and covering up botched abortions, and was imprisoned from 1999 to late 2002. He had been free for 37 days when he was arrested again.
Biscet, 50, was freed last March as part of the Cuban government’s decision to release more than 125 political prisoners — a move that came after pressure by the Catholic Church. Some congressional leaders, including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, have nominated him for a Nobel Prize.
His testimony Thursday came at considerable personal risk and could lead to his re-arrest, he acknowledged. "Everything is possible," Biscet said. "We're under constant supervision."
Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J. and Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., said they would write to the pope asking him to meet with Biscet. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, said the message to the church couldn't be more clear.
"Now it is up to Catholic Church to respond to Dr. Biscet," Rivera said. "It is up to the pope himself to respond to Dr. Biscet. I would hope they would be responsive to Dr. Biscet's hope and aspirations and his request of the pope and the Catholic Church."
Biscet on Thursday told the committee that the police in Cuba beat him, disfigured his face and broke his foot in an effort to “stop me from defending human rights."
He also described the conditions he experienced in prison in Cuba. Some prisoners were undressed collectively, disregarding "any respect for human dignity," he said. They were handcuffed at their ankles and hands for more than 12 hours and as many as 24 hours. Some were hanged by their hands, with their feet barely touching the ground.
Cuban journalist Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, also a recently freed political prisoner who now lives in Miami, told the committee that women are treated with particular brutality by police. Some men have reported that their captors undressed them, screamed obscenities at them, touched their genitals, and threatened them with rape, he said.
"I still have fresh in my mind the screams of prisoners who were being freshly tortured," he said. "I don't know if I'll be able to ever forget that."
Sires called Biscet's testimony untainted by the politics of the Miami exile community. That should give the Castro regime pause, Sires said, because Biscet is one of their own.
"He's not a product of Miami Beach, he's not a product of Miami, he's not a product of Cubans in exile," he said. "This is a man that was educated in Cuba, and he sees that this is a dictator, that this a country that oppresses human rights. That this is a country that allows no one the freedom to express themselves. And he's personally seen what they do to people who are seeking freedom of expression."
Biscet on Thursday vowed to continue what he described as a non-violent movement to change Cuba. Biscet said they expect little to improve while both Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, remain alive — but said that they can't wait for their deaths to agitate for change in Cuba.
"So we will create change on our own," he said. "We are hoping that we will have the capacity to create non-violent coercion and pressure in order to actually install that political change ourselves."

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