By Juan Carlos Chavez
Winnie Biscet, daughter of the Cuban prisoner of conscience Oscar Elías Biscet, launched an international campaign to demand for the immediate release of her father, sentenced to 25 years in a maximum security prison.
“We ask for his unconditional release,” said Winnie, age 22. “And to achieve this we are opening a website and a blog. I want people to know him not only as a patriot, but also as a father.
Winnie is also sending a letter to president Barack Obama asking for his help, and for him to denounce the abuses against Biscet. By Wednesday, she had already collected over 300 signatures.
“I miss my father terribly. I fear for his health and safety. But I support his decision, his continued resistance to tyranny and his strong commitment to freedom and human rights for all Cubans,” her letter said. “Please, Mr. President, join us in this fight and do so publicly, because your support will help to make all the people of the world aware of this injustice.”
Exile organizations, such as Former Cuban Political Prisoners Organization, have joined the call for his unconditional release. The president of the group, Rodolfo Rodríguez San Román, said the release should not be contingent on his leaving the country.
“We are going to fight for him, for freedom without exile,” Rodriguez said.
Biscet is one of at least five political prisoners who have refused to leave Cuba under the current process of releases, which began after talks between the island’s Catholic Church and the government. Incarcerated since 2003, in the Combinado del Este prison in Havana, the 48-year-old Biscet is one of the prisoners most critical of the Cuban government. He started his opposition in 1986, shortly after graduating in medicine. In November 2007, former president George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Freedom Medal, in absentia.
Biscet gained international fame when he released a document condemning the indiscriminate use of the drug Rivanol in Cuba, a drug intended to induce abortions.