DR. BISCET'S WORK
A History of Non-Violent Activism
Trained as a physician, Biscet began his activism by protesting
the long hours Cuban doctors were forced to work without pay
and later the widespread use of late-term abortion, infanticide and forced abortion in the Cuban health care system. For exposing these practices, he was he was suspended and later permanently expelled from the Cuban National Health System. Biscet’s wife, Elsa, was also expelled from her job as a nurse.
In 1997, Biscet founded the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, whose mission is to defend the inalienable rights of all people set out in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Between 1998 and 1999, Biscet organized many demonstrations, press conferences and literature distributions to draw attention to the plight of Cuba’s political prisoners and to educate Cuban citizens and the world about the Cuban’s government’s human rights abuses. During this period, Biscet was arrested or detained 26 times for speaking out against abortion and the suppression of civil liberties in Cuba.
Just 36 days later, Biscet was re-arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Biscet spent the next nine years in prison, where he suffered beatings, threats, humiliations, interrogations and incarceration in solitary, underground cells.
In 2010, the Cuban government offered Biscet release from prison in exchange for exile to Spain. Biscet refused to accept exile as the price of freedom and felt a moral obligation to remain in Cuba and to work for change from the inside. He was released in 2011 and has lived in Havana ever since.
Upon his release in 2002, Biscet told reporters, “Despite my three years in prison, I have not given up my struggle for the liberty of Cuba, especially for the prisoners.”
In 2013, Dr. Biscet and about a dozen other opponents of the communist regime launched the Emilia Project, a grassroots campaign to educate everyday Cubans and train leaders across the island about human rights, non-violent civil disobedience, and other topics associated with freedom and democracy.
The Emilia Project bears the name of Emilia Teurbe Tolón, who fought for Cuban freedom and became the first woman to be deported from the island because of her affiliation with the Cuban struggle for independence from Spanish rule.