The perception that Cuba is less repressive under Raúl Castro than Fidel is false, Human Rights Watch says. Dissidents are still harassed by the state, subject to arbitrary detention—532 such cases in the first half of 2009 alone—fired. or denied work. The government also continues to pressure friends and family into cutting contact with suspected dissidents.
"Castro inherited a system of abusive laws and institutions," says the report. "Rather than dismantle this repressive machinery, Raúl Castro has kept it firmly in place and fully active.'' HRW urges the Obama administration to lift the US embargo but lead a multinational effort to improve conditions, reports the Miami Herald.