Human Rights in Spotlight After U.S.-Cuba Deal
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|To many exiles and their allies, President Raul Castro is a brutal dictator who locks up dissenters in gulag-like jails, snuffs out political discourse and condemns his people to socialist poverty. Cuba's supporters see the government as heroic, its sins justified by the behavior of its giant enemy to the north, and offset by the fact it provides health care and education that most developing countries could only dream of. As often is the case, the truth lies somewhere in between. President Barack Obama said on Friday that he began his historic call with Castro earlier in the week by delivering a 15-minute lecture on human rights and political freedom, adding: "This is still a regime that oppresses its people." Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director for the Americas division at Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press: "I believe that President Obama is making the right decision, but that does not mean that our serious human rights concerns with regard to Cuba have gone away." He said the abuses were "part of state policy, systematic and widespread."
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