Improvements without Reform

To facilitate its full integration into the world community—and thus the world economy—the Cuban government is trying to improve its human rights image. To a limited extent, the government’s concern with image has given rise to some concrete improvements, including the release of some political prisoners prior to the expiration of their sentences, a decline in the number of political prosecutions and “acts of repudiation,” a commitment not to prosecute for “illegal exit” persons who have been repatriated to Cuba by the U.S., consent to a limited degree of human rights monitoring on two occasions, and ratification of a major human rights treaty. Nonetheless, these improvements do not indicate that the human rights situation in Cuba has fundamentally altered, nor that the necessary structural reforms have been initiated. The Cuban government continues to violate systematically the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly, privacy and due process of law.

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