Fourteen months or so after the United States reopened its embassy in Havana, political repression in Cuba is as awful as ever. In fact, by one count, 2016, with two months still to go, is the worst year ever for human rights on the island.
Perhaps it's not fair to link the two; after all, it's not like the Obama administration and many in the Republican Party have linked improvement in the human rights situation on the island to the strengthening of diplomatic, economic and other ties between the two government.
Bluntly put, the freedoms of the Cuban people is not a priority.
My disgust with this, as well as some personal and professional considerations, have contributed to my blogging being sparse in recent months. After almost 11 years of running this blog, I was a little burned out, not just from the self-imposed responsibility of trying to report as much of events and developments happening on the island, but also the frustration of fearing that all my efforts were for naught. No matter how much I reported about political repression in Cuba or tried to share the stories of those bravely resisting the Castro dictatorship, there were many more in this country eager to do business with the Castros or just vacation on Cuban beaches.
My frustrations aside, however, the human rights situation in Cuba remains deplorable, and it remains a story that must be told.
So here I am, not necessarily refreshed but nonetheless re-committed to doing the best I can or at least whatever I can to inform about the truth about the human rights situation in Cuba and those Cubans who risk what little freedom they have in search for a better, freer Cuba.
So here we go.
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation this past week reported there were at least 620 politically motivated arrests in Cuba in October, bringing the total for the year to 9,125. That already surpasses the 8,899 arrests recorded in all of 2014, up to the now the worst year yet on the island.
To be fair to the Castros -- don't worry, we don't make that a habit here -- the 620 arrests in October was 473 fewer, or more than 43 percent less, than in October 2015.
But even if that downward trend continues for the final two months of this year, 2016 will end with more than 10,000 arrests for the first time since the human rights commission started counting in 2010.
That, more than anything, is why Uncommon Sense is back.