To award the congressional gold medal to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, in recognition of his courageous and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights in Cuba

Bill Number: 
H.R.5627
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Relevant Text: 

HR 5627 IH

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5627

To award the congressional gold medal to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, in recognition of his courageous and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights in Cuba.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 13, 2008

Mr. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART of Florida (for himself, Mr. SIRES, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. MARIO DIAZ-BALART of Florida, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, and Mr. SMITH of New Jersey) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services

A BILL

To award the congressional gold medal to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, in recognition of his courageous and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights in Cuba.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds as follows:

      (1) Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet was born on July 20, 1961 in Havana, Cuba.

      (2) Dr. Biscet is married to fellow pro-democracy leader, Elsa Morejon Hernandez.

      (3) Dr. Biscet is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for allegedly committing crimes against the Cuban regime.

      (4) In 1997, Dr. Biscet founded the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights to promote the study and defense of human rights and to denounce human rights violations inside Cuba and wherever else they are violated.

      (5) Dr. Biscet denounced the double standards and discrimination against the Cuban people of the Cuban National Health Care System, and as a result he was forbidden from practicing medicine.

      (6) On November 3, 1999, Dr. Biscet was imprisoned for 3 years for organizing a peaceful pro-democracy protest.

      (7) Once released in 2002, and unable to practice medicine, Dr. Biscet organized seminars on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      (8) On December 6, 2002, on his way to one such meeting, he and several of the seminar's participants were beaten and arrested.

      (9) On April 7, 2003, Dr. Biscet was sentenced to 25 years in prison and sent to the Kilo Cinco y Medio prison, in Pinar Del Rio province, and he has subsequently been incarcerated in multiple prisons of the Cuban dictatorship.

      (10) Dr. Biscet has declared himself a `plantado', a political prisoner who refuses to undertake ideological `reeducation' or wear a common prisoner's uniform, and he remains in Cuba's political gulag.

      (11) On November 5, 2007, President Bush recognized Dr. Biscet, presenting him (in absentia) with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, stating that `Dr. Biscet is a champion in the fight against tyranny and oppression. Despite being persecuted and imprisoned for his beliefs, he continues to advocate for a free Cuba in which the rights of all people are respected.'.

      (12) Dr. Biscet is a follower of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and continues to work each day from his jail cell to bring democracy and the rule of law to Cuba.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.

    (a) Presentation Authorized- The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of the Congress, of a gold medal of appropriate design, to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet in recognition of his courageous and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights in Cuba.

    (b) Design and Striking- For purposes of the presentation referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (hereafter referred to in this Act as the `Secretary') shall strike a gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions to be determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 3. DUPLICATE MEDALS.

    The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck pursuant to section 2 under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, at a price sufficient to cover the cost thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medal.

SEC. 4. STATUS OF MEDALS.

    (a) National Medals- The medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

    (b) Numismatic Items- For purposes of sections 5134 and 5136 of title 31, United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be considered to be numismatic items.

SEC. 5. AUTHORITY TO USE FUND AMOUNTS; PROCEEDS OF SALE.

    (a) Authority To Use Fund Amounts- There is authorized to be charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund such amounts as may be necessary to pay for the costs of the medals struck pursuant to this Act.

    (b) Proceeds of Sale- Amounts received from the sale of duplicate bronze medals authorized under section 3 shall be deposited into the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.