Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, a native of Havana, Cuba, began practicing and teaching medicine nearly 40 years ago. Beginning in the late 1980s, his open opposition to Cuba’s communist government has earned him the regime’s scrutiny and surveillance, in addition to multiple political prison sentences.
Dr. Biscet has served over a dozen years in Cuban prisons and was labeled a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. In 2003, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for “dangerous activities” for the offense of organizing and participating in meetings of dissidents. Prior to that, Dr. Biscet served three years in prison for "dishonoring a national symbol” “when he displayed the Cuban flag upside down in protest of a national lack of freedom. He was last released in 2011 along with several other political prisoners after the Cuban government gave in to pressure from humanitarian organizations.
In police custody, Dr. Biscet was held in solitary confinement and repeatedly tortured and threatened with still more and longer prison sentences if he continues to engage in activism within Cuba. Nonetheless, he has steadfastly continued to speak out, educate and organize every time he has been released.
Dr. Biscet also refuses to leave Cuba permanently, even though the regime has repeatedly tried to induce him to do so.
Since 2013, Dr. Biscet and other opponents of Cuba’s communist regime have operated the Emilia Project, which highlights oppression and human rights violations in Cuba and works toward a transition to a system of representative democracy. The Emilia Project is a grassroots campaign that educates everyday Cubans and trains leaders across the island about human rights, non-violent civil disobedience, and other topics associated with freedom and democracy. Members of the Emilia Project face constant surveillance and harassment by agents of Cuban state security, in addition to occasional arrest.
Today Dr. Biscet lives in Havana with his wife,
Elsa Morejon, as he continues to work for democracy and the recognition of basic human rights in Cuba.
Biscet’s courageous defense of Cuban freedom has earned him
international acclaim and several human rights awards, including:
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2008)
Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt Medal for Human Rights (2007)
Champion of Freedom (Democratic Nationalist Party of Cuba)
Human Rights Award (Hispanic Cuban Foundation)
Defender of Life (International Center for the Defense of Life)
Doctor Honoris Causa, Miami-Dade College (year TK)