Biscet and four other dissidents were arrested by Cuban security agents
as they prepared to hand out leaflets promoting the Emilia Project.
A U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom winner was arrested and held
briefly Wednesday by Cuban security agents who threatened him with
imprisonment if he continued to push efforts to create a free parliament
to replace the National Assembly of People’s Power, the Inspire
America Foundation said.
Dr. Oscar Biscet, a political dissident and human rights advocate who
was imprisoned in 2002 for crimes against sovereignty and the integrity
of the Cuban territory, was arrested outside his Havana home by four
police and two state security agents, the Miami Herald reported. He was
released several hours later.
“While in custody he was told to give up his work and that he was
getting old and that he was being watched and would go to prison if he
continued,” said Marcell Felipe, founder of the foundation. Three other
dissidents also were detained.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted the arrest proved the failure of
U.S. President Barack Obama’s overtures to Cuba.
The dissidents had planned to meet in a Havana park to pass out a
newsletter on the Emilia Project, a campaign to gather signatures on a
document seeking to establish a new democratic and free parliament and
write a new constitution based on principles of freedom and democracy.
Biscet was awarded the Medal of Freedom in absentia in 2007 by
then-President George W. Bush but was not able to pick it up until 2011
when he was freed from prison, having served nine years of a 25-year
In his visit to Washington during the summer, Biscet told the Washington
Examiner he was excited about the Emilia Project.
“I have a moral and ethical commitment to return. I can’t leave my
people enslaved,” he said.
Wednesday’s arrests came just hours after Obama delivered his farewell
address in Chicago, in part hailing the reopening of relations with Cuba
as “a new chapter.”
But Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson testified President-elect
Donald Trump plans to re-examine the rapprochement with Cuba, adding he
would support a veto of a bill to lift the travel ban to the island. He
also said Cuba hasn’t made enough progress on human rights since
relations have thawed.
Source: Cuban Dissident Arrested For Democracy Campaign –