Activist arrests revive US-Cuba tensions

Journalists wait for Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera at Revolution Square in Havana, on December 30, 2014A Cuban crackdown on dissident activists caused a new rift Wednesday with the United States, the first diplomatic scuffle since this month’s historic announcement of a renewal in ties. Authorities arrested 51 dissidents Tuesday to stop them from attending an open mic session convened for Cubans to speak out about their future, said Elizardo Sanchez, the head of the officially banned Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Committee. In a stern reaction, Washington condemned Havana’s “lack of respect” for human rights. “We are deeply concerned about the latest reports of detentions and arrests by Cuban authorities of peaceful civil society members and activists,” the US State Department said in a statement.

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