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Courage in Cuba
An extraordinary thing happened last Thursday, February 16, before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights. Appearing live by telephone from Havana, former political prisoner Oscar Elías Biscet testified on the violation of human rights in Cuba. Biscet, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, described inhumane prison conditions and the use of torture against Cuba’s political prisoners—practices that have been well documented by the U.S. Department of State and others. “The Cuba in which I live is a society full of fear,” he said. “We are looking for [liberty] and democracy.” When asked about the visit to Cuba next month of Pope Benedict XVI, Biscet said that he would love for the Pontiff “to lobby for our freedom of speech and a multiparty system.” Thursday’s hearing also featured journalist Normando Hernández González, who was jailed with Biscet and 73 other freedom advocates in 2003 during the “Black Spring.” You can watch their testimony here. The Bush Institute's Human Freedom Initiative recently welcomed several freedom advocates from Cuba at the Voices Of Freedom Luncheon. This post was written by Amanda Schnetzer, Director of Human Freedom at the George W. Bush Institute.