In the post-fact world we live in, you can interpret numbers anyway you want, even when they reflect the absolute tyranny of the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.
For instance, if you are so deluded, you could argue that repression in Cuba is on the decline. Yes, there were at least 458 politically motivated arrests on the island in December, the second-lowest monthly count in 2016, and less than half of the 930 recorded in December 2015. See, the death of Fidel Castro and more importantly, President Barack Obama's opening to Cuba have made a difference!
But in the real world, where facts still matter, the bottom-line is this: Political repression in Cuba, after all the new tourist flights and other business deals, after the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the U.S., is worse than ever.
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation -- the source of the above figures -- reported this week that 2016 ended with at least 9,940 politically motivated arrests across the island. The optimists and apologists might argue that that's less than the 10,000 that had been projected earlier in the year, but it's still the highest since the human rights commission began counting in 2010. (Add in the inevitable arrests no one knows about -- it's not like the Cuban police allow themselves to be held accountable -- and the actual count is probably much higher.)
As the numbers show, the opening with the United States and the death in November of Fidel Castro has been met not with a relaxation of political control but instead by a reaffirmation by Raul Castro that he and his regime remain firmly, and mercilessly, in control.