There is a remarkable coda to our recent story about Cuban pro-life physician and human rights hero Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet. On Thursday, June 23, in Dallas, former President George W. Bush welcomed Dr. Biscet to the Bush Center and personally presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom he had awarded him in absentia in 2007 when Dr. Biscet was serving a 25-year sentence in a Castro prison.
Dr. Biscet was released from prison in 2011. This is the first time the Communist regime has allowed him to travel outside Cuba; he had petitioned them for years, and observers see their letting him go abroad now as a cynical attempt by the dictatorship to look good. In the last month he has traveled to Hungary, Spain and U.S. cities – but he says that he and his brave wife and fellow defender of liberty, Elsa Morejón, will return to Cuba to rejoin their fellow Cuban freedom lovers in their campaign for liberty and human rights.
On Thursday, speaking at the Bush Center before select attendees including his wife, Dr. Biscet said, as seen in a Dallas Morning News video from the event, that he considers the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded him to be “a present to all the brave people who fight for liberty in Cuba, in their struggle against the Castro tyranny.”
In his remarks, President Bush said, “To the Cuban dictatorship, Oscar Biscet is a dangerous man…His example is a rebuke to the tyrants and secret police of a regime whose time is passing.”
Dr. Biscet announced that he is entrusting his Medal of Freedom to the Bush Center for safekeeping “until Cuba is free.” As we in the United States continue working to defend our rights of conscience against ever-increasing encroachments by officials in government, academia and medicine, may we always pray for Oscar Elías Biscet and Elsa Morejón – and may we ever follow their shining example of courage and integrity.
Chuck Donovan is president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Daniel J. Engler is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan. He later co-scripted Hollywood animated films for children. Today he writes for Catholic and pro-life publications.