Prieto, a novelist known for his relatively open views and long mullet haircut, was dropped from the party’s 15-member ruling Political Bureau, as well as its more decorative Central Committee, with more than 100 members.
Party officials made no specific announcement of Prieto’s ouster — his name was simply not on the lists of new members of the two bodies that were read Tuesday at the end of the VI Communist Party Congress. The Miami Herald
After 52 years in power – 47 of which he spent in his older brother's shadow– "president" Raúl Castro is seeking to reform his domain and change nothing at the same time. Two days ago, he told the party delegates that henceforth no one should serve more than two five-year terms in government. Ten years in office; that's it for everyone from now on, himself included. "We need to rejuvenate the revolution," said Raúl.
The assembled delegates responded with thunderous applause. Then they swiftly anointed 79-year-old Raúl as their supreme leader and José Ramon Machado Ventura, one of Raúl's cronies, as his immediate successor. The number three spot went to another revolutionary sidekick, Ramiro Valdés. Machado is 80 years old. Valdés is 79. Then came the pièce de résistance: 300 proposals to shake up Catrolandia's centrally planned economy, including one that would allow Cubans to buy and sell their homes. The congress will be very busy for a while "voting" on these proposals.
What the government-controlled Cuban press won't say, and what most foreign correspondents on Cuban soil don't dare say (lest they be expelled, as happened last week to Spanish journalist Carlos Hernando) is that these so-called reforms are illusory, and a desperate, ridiculous attempt to camouflage repression and maintain the current status quo.
Biscet was born in 1961 and has a wife, Elsa Morejón Hernández, and two children, Winnie and Yan. The children have been in the United States for several years; Elsa, like her husband, is in Cuba. Biscet obtained his degree in internal medicine in 1985. A few years later, he embarked on human-rights activism. In 1994, he was charged with “dangerousness,” a very common charge. It means that the individual in question will not submit meekly to dictatorial rule. In 1997, Biscet established the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights (“Lawton” being the name of the Havana neighborhood in which he lived). The organization, of course, is banned. In 1998, he spoke out strongly against abortion, particularly late-term abortion: In his work as a doctor, he saw ghastly things. The authorities responded harshly to his protest.
After being detained repeatedly — 26 times — Biscet was arrested in 1999 and thrown in prison for three years. He was released on October 31, 2002, and had 36 days outside of prison. During this time, he worked on his “Democratic Principles for Cuba” and a civic project called “Club for Friends of Human Rights.” He was again arrested on December 6, 2002, and underwent his ordeal until last March 11.
"The new generation is being called upon to rectify and change without hesitation all that should be rectified and changed," Castro wrote.
"There is no margin for error," he added. Read more