Political arrests up in Cuba

Jan. 7, 2013 at 4:30 PM

HAVANA, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Political arrests in Cuba totaled more than 6,600 in 2012, up from 4,123 in 2011 and 2,074 in 2010, officials say.

Activists say the increase in political arrests is due to the government's change in strategy for dealing with civil resistance, USA Today reported.

"The government has changed its tactics," said Elizardo Sanchez, director of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a Havana group that tracks political arrests.

Hector Maseda, who served several years in prison for his political views, said authorities have started to arrest people and hold them in custody for shorter periods of time to give the impression of tolerance.

"The government is trying to confuse public opinion. It is trying to show that repression has lessened," said Maseda, 69, a former nuclear engineer. "But that is not happening. Repression is increasing."

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