The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation announced on Monday that Cuba arbitrarily detained 504 people last month, up sharply from 140 cases in January. The group also reported the death of dissendent Antonio Ribalta.
"The Castro dictatorship has oppressed the Cuban people for decades through brutal beatings and intimidation, arrests, imprisonment of pro-democracy activists in deplorable conditions, and even murder," U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., replied in response to an emailed request for comment.
"Only when the Castro dictatorship is finally relegated to the ash heap of history will we be able to fully uncover the countless atrocities committed against the Cuban people," he added.
Ribalta, 44, died on Feb. 16 after a hunger strike of 38 days.
Meanwhile, Raul Castro, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and brother to longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, says there are no political prisoners on the island. He also claims the dissidents are mercenaries who get funding from abroad, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
The commission documented 2,074 arbitrary detentions in 2010, and 2,224 between January-August 2011, according to the Human Rights Watch's World Report 2012: Cuba.
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