From the WSJ yesterday:
Cuban physician Oscar Elías Biscet and seven others will be awarded the presidential medal of freedom by George W. Bush in a White House ceremony today. But Dr. Biscet will not be there to accept his honor in person. Today, like most days for the better part of the past eight years, he is locked away in a dungeon on Fidel Castro's island paradise.
The Cuban cell where Dr. Biscet resides looks like the one above.
The Boston Globe has more:
A prolife Christian physician, Biscet first ran afoul of the Castro regime in the 1990s, when he investigated Cuban abortion techniques - Cuba has by far the highest abortion rates in the Western Hemisphere - and revealed that numerous infants had been killed after being delivered alive. In 1997, he began the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which seeks “to establish in Cuba a state based on the rule of law” and “sustained upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” In 1999, he was given a three-year sentence for “disrespecting patriotic symbols.” To protest the regime’s repression, he had hung a Cuban flag upside down.
Jay Norlinger at NRO reminds us of why this is so significant:
In awarding this medal, President Bush — not for the first time — has shown huge brass ones. How many other presidents would have done this? I can’t think of any (save our boy, the 40th). And don’t hold your breath for a president in the future who will act this way.
As I said in a recent column, conservatives are down on President Bush, blaming him for everything under the sun, picking at him. Sure, he’s made mistakes. But he also has greatness in him. And this was a great act. In bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Oscar Biscet — an all-but-forgotten and all-but-helpless man in a Cuban dungeon — George Bush has done an incredibly large-hearted and important thing.
Do not think it’s merely symbolic: This award has rocketed through dissident circles, and nerved Cubans and their well-wishers everywhere.
Dr. Biscet's son has tribute to his father published in yesterday’s Boston Globe.
In a world of great suffering at least we can honor those who sacrifice so much for so many.
God bless Dr. Biscet.