The man that many argue is destined to become Cuba’s next president has been fighting his government with a sense of old world defiance, which by today’s standards seems as rare as the '48 Chevys still parading along Havana’s Malecon.
Oscar Elias Biscet is a doctor who is described by his fans around the world as fearless, ballsy, and tough as nails.
I live in Cuba because that’s where I need to say the things I need to say, not here. Anything you hear me say to you here, I also say in Cuba.
- Oscar Biscet
He has repeatedly given Fidel and Raul Castro the finger with acts of outward rebellion and provocation — displaying Cuba’s flag upside down in his yard, criticizing his own country’s much talked about health care system, defending the rights of the unborn.
Along the way, he has been sent to jail on several occasions.
Biscet has been arrested, re-arrested and placed in solitary confinement, yet he doesn’t seem to be bothered or threatened by it. He has spent much of the past eight years serving a prison sentence, which was originally set at 25 years.
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Most recently, Biscet arrived in the United States and quickly held audiences with editorial boards, politicos and fans alike. When I approached him during a rally in Miami, he seemed to be basking in the outright adoration of the Cuban exile old-guard fandom, where he is revered —almost as a vestige of what they once represented during their glory days of the Reagan v. Castro Cold War standoff.
As I approached Biscet, I could immediately see why he attracts so many followers. He seems sure-footed, confident and yet quiet. He is handsome — almost a better-looking Barack Obama, but in no way taken by his own presence.
He knew me as I approached him from apparently following my career on Miami and cable TV, but he was surrounded by at least 20 microphones and a crush of reporters and devotes.
I wanted to pull him away, but didn’t want to make it obvious and cause a scene so I signaled him to follow me behind a curtain and there we got to talk about the presidency of Cuba, relations with Cuba and President Obama.
Rick Sanchez: Many are convinced you should be the next president of Cuba...
Oscar Biscet: It is something I haven’t thought about, but if people think that, it means that I must be doing something right. I consider myself a doctor and that is my objective in life, but if it comes time to defend democracy in Cuba that is what I will do.
Sanchez: Many people in the U.S., especially outside Miami, do not understand why we are still enemies with Cuba. In fact, the majority of Americans want improved relations with Cuba. What do you think we should do?
Biscet: There are a lot of people who don’t understand it, but this is a dictatorship and we have to maintain Cuba as an enemy; because they violate the dignity of human beings. I am sure that any American citizen who was told they are going to have their children taken away from them would understand why we should not have relations with a country that does that. We want to have a bill of rights just like Americans, we want liberty, human rights, and democracy.
Sanchez: Why do you think you’re so revered here among this group of Cuban exiles and how do you see these exiles' role in the shaping of future U.S.-Cuba relations?
Biscet: Most of the people here today in this audience have families that have been tortured or put before firing squads or imprisoned. Many have had things taken away from them and have had their country destroyed. Despite the fact that they have lived in the same tyranny that was represented by Hitler and by Stalin, they still keep fighting for their rights here in Miami.
Sanchez: You’re here in the U.S. now, why don’t you stay? Why do you want to continue living in Cuba when you could be right here in Miami?
Biscet: I live in Cuba because that’s where I need to say the things I need to say, not here. Anything you hear me say to you here, I also say in Cuba. Yes, I am always afraid of what they will do to me, but that does not stop me from doing what I must, which is to fight against the tyranny that exists in Cuba today.