Welcome to the reformed and benevolent dictatorship of Cuba’s Raul Castro. Real change is coming to the island, alright.
Human rights group in Cuba reports record number of detentions
A record 3,821 short-term arrests of Cuban dissidents were reported in the first four months of this year, continuing a surprisingly sharp increase in detentions under ruler Raúl Castro, the island’s top human rights group reported Monday.
The number more than doubled the 1,588 detentions reported in the first quarter of last year and outstripped the previous high of 2,795 for the same period in 2012, which included 1,158 detentions during the month that Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba.
The growing detentions “reflect the popular discontent that is growing sharply” on the communist-ruled island of 11 million people, said Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, head of Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN).
“These people have entered their 56th year in government, and governing badly, so it’s natural that the discontent is increasing day by day,” Sanchez said by phone from Havana.
“What does surprise me is that this is happening at a time when the government is trying to get close to the European Union, and they (Cuban officials) are showing a truly unacceptable face,” Sanchez said.
Cuban and EU officials began talks April 29 on warming up their political and economic relations. The EU’s “common position” ties its policies to Cuba’s human rights record, although many European nations maintain good bilateral relations with Havana.
Sanchez cautioned, however, that while the Cubans’ discontent and outright opposition to the government continue to rise, they lack “articulation” because of the government’s ability to crack down on its critics.
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