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‘Oscar’s Cuba’ Brings a Hero to Life, Exposes Fidel’s Cuba

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‘Oscar’s Cuba’ Brings a Hero to Life, Exposes Fidel’s Cuba

Mensaje por LoriG el Jue Mar 18, 2010 6:18 pm

‘Oscar’s Cuba’ Brings a Hero to Life, Exposes Fidel’s Cuba

“We will obtain the liberty of the Cuban people.” — Doctor Oscar Elias Biscet
Filmmaker Jordan Allott’s documentary, “Oscar’s Cuba” paints a compelling portrait of Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biscet, whom Armando Valladares, former Reagan administration Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and himself a former political prisoner of the Castro dictatorship, cites as the most important living figure in the struggle for Cuban liberty.

In 1998 Doctor Biscet dared to publish a report in which he interviewed many Cuban mothers who testified that their infants had been born alive and then killed by the regime. The totalitarian regime that controls Cuba views problematic pregnancies or unhealthy infants as a threat to their much-touted low infant mortality rates. Cuba has the highest abortion rates in our hemisphere, with 6 in 10 pregnancies ending in abortion. Thanks to Dr Biscet, we now know that many of these abortions were not the choice of the mothers involved, that said abortions were coerced, and indeed that many of these infants were born alive…then terminated. When Dr. Biscet made this issue a matter of public record, he gave the regime a black eye. The regime was not going to let this go unpunished. Dr Biscet continued to speak out for human rights and democracy on the island, and he paid a price for it: in 1998 and 1999 he was arrested more than 20 times.
On March 18, 2003, seven years ago today, Dr Biscet was arrested along with more than 70 other dissidents in what has come to be called “la Primavera Negra,” the Black Spring of 2003. He was sentenced to a 25-year sentence, which he is currently serving in the notorious Combinado del Este prison outside of Havana. Dr. Biscet spends much of his time in solitary confinement, incarcerated in an underground cell. Yet Biscet endures, and continues to defy the regime.
In the film, Gorki Aguila, lead singer of Cuban punk group Porno Para Ricardo, testifies that Biscet was “like a light” when he met him during his own imprisonment. When we see Biscet interviewed we, too, get a sense of this light, and of the God-given Grace that animates and sustains the deeply religious and avowedly non-violent Dr Biscet- Charisma in the true sense of the word: a divine gift.
We see Elsa Morejon, Oscar’s wife, preparing “la jaba,” the supply of food, water, toilet paper and other necessities that Elsa brings to Oscar when she is allowed to visit, only once every two months. Given that the food provided Oscar by the regime is largely inedible and perhaps even poisoned or drugged, la jaba is all that physically sustains Dr. Biscet.
“Oscar’s Cuba” shows us harrowing evidence of the repressive tactics of the Castros. We have known for years that the regime employs hand-picked mobs of citizens to terrify dissidents; in “Oscar’s Cuba” we see such a mob firsthand, gathered in front of Dr Biscet’s house. An old man yells, bizarrely, “down (abajo) with human rights!” “¡Abajo!” answers another viejo in a Che Guevara t-shirt. A younger man starts chanting, “¡Esta calle es de Fidel! ¡Esta calle es de Fidel!” (“This street belongs to Fidel!”) A couple of middle-aged women join in hysterically and soon the whole crowd is shouting the inane mantra. In a normal society, you would call the police to break up such an unhinged mob in front of your house. In Cuba, the police were the ones who organized and sent this mob in the first place. If the mob gets violent and physically beats you, there is nobody to call for help. In fact, the actions of the mob are considered those of model citizens by the regime. This is a society that is upside down, crazy.
In Cuba, to shout something as inarguable and universal as “¡Que vivan los derechos humanos!” “Long live human rights!” becomes a deeply courageous and downright subversive act. Indeed, we do hear Dr. Biscet bravely cry out “¡Que vivan los derechos humanos!” just before he is forced into a police car and whisked away. We come away from Mr Allott’s film with an almost palpable sense not only of the courage and determination of Biscet, but of the fear the regime has of him. Biscet knows that he faces a thoroughly ruthless adversary, and yet remains undaunted. What’s most striking about the man is his hope. Not a naive hope, but rather a serene faith that bad ideas fail, and good ideas win.
“Oscar’s Cuba” suggests that the hour of that victory of good ideas over bad may be at hand: Ambassador Valladares affirms that every day more and more Cubans lose their fear of the dictatorship, and begin speaking up.
Beautifully scored by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, “Oscar’s Cuba” will screen on Sunday, March 21, 2010, from 5:00pm – 7:30pm in Hollywood, California. Cuban-born actress Maria Conchita Alonso will host the event.

For more information on Sunday’s screening of “Oscar’s Cuba” visit their website and Facebook page
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