Posted on Mon, Oct. 29, 2007
By PABLO BACHELET
President Bush Monday awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom to jailed
Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biscet, one of Fidel Castro's harshest critics.
Biscet, jailed since 2003, was one of eight persons to receive the
award, the highest given to a civilian by the United States, together
with the Congressional Gold Medal.
The other winners included Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and
novelist Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird.
The 46-year old Biscet, an afro-Cuban physician, has opposed the Cuban
government since 1986, when as a recent medical graduate he protested
the long hours doctors had to work without pay.
Since then he has become a high profile dissident and Bush mentioned his
name at a speech on Cuba last week.
The founder of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which denounces
abuses in Cuba, Biscet has been serving a 25-year jail term since a
spring 2003 crackdown on dissidents.
He had been released from prison in 2002, after serving a three-year term.