Cuba

Elsa Morejón, wife of Cuban dissident Oscar Elías Biscet, visits Miami

 

jcchavez@ElNuevoHerald.com

Elsa Morejón, wife of Cuban dissident Oscar Elías Biscet, said the Cuban government is “worried” more about assigning resources to criticize opponents while ignoring the most urgent needs of the population.

Morejón arrived recently in South Florida to visit her father, former political prisoner Juan Ramón Morejón, and close friends.

“The government has created a defense mechanism to discredit and denigrate the peaceful opposition in social networks because they are incapable of doing it inside Cuba,” Morejón said in a meeting Monday with el Nuevo Herald and The Miami Herald. “But people are changing. Persons who before would not even stop to say hello, now do it.”

Biscet and Morejón, who is a professional nurse, were fired from their jobs in public health because of their activism. Biscet served 11 years in prison, the first three for, among other accusations, dishonoring a national symbol after he hoisted the Cuban flag upside down.

In the meeting, Morejón questioned Cuban authorities for consistently denying a temporary exit permit for her husband. “The government is very frightened by what Biscet might say,” Morejón said. “He has a political project and is a man of ideas.”

Members of the opposition began to travel abroad shortly after Jan. 14, when Cuba’s new immigration policy went into effect. The list of opponents who have traveled includes blogger Yoani Sánchez and Antonio Rodiles, director of State of SATS (an art exhibit); also, Berta Soler, spokeswoman of the Ladies in White, Elizardo Sánchez, director of the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, and Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, founder of the Christian Liberation Movement, among others.

Morejón also said that the Cuban government keeps a constant watch over her 51-year-old husband since he was released under an extra-penal license, which allows a prisoner to serve his time in freedom, though authorities could revoke the benefit at any time.

Biscet is the founder of the Lawton Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights. He accused the government in the 1990s of allowing and covering up abortions. The authorities kept him in prison from 1999 to late 2002. He was free for 37 days before he was rearrested.

In July 2011, authorities ordered Biscet’s release as part of an agreement between the Cuban Catholic Church and the government to improve the conditions of political prisoners. Biscet began serving a 25-year sentence after the arrest en masse in 2003 of 75 dissidents, a time known as the Black Spring.

In that context, Morejón said that the watch over Biscet and other peaceful activists has been intensified because of new initiatives, such as Biscet’s Emilia Project.

The project proposes a declaration branding the Communist government as illegitimate. Likewise, it supports the creation of a new grass-roots movement demanding democracy and human rights as a “non-violent” political challenge to the regime of the Castro brothers.

Read more Cuba stories from the Miami Herald

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