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Cuba's Dissident Crackdown Peaks Ahead of Obama's Historic Visit

  • Detentions hit five-year high in January, rights group says
  • President plans to meet with civil society groups in Havana
A protester holds American and Cuban flags on Dec. 20, 2014, in Miami.

A protester holds American and Cuban flags on Dec. 20, 2014, in Miami.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Even some supporters of President Barack Obama’s moves to strengthen relations with Cuba are questioning the timing of his planned visit to the Communist island next month, after arrests of dissidents by Raul Castro’s government reached a five-year high.

Obama vowed Thursday that he’ll promote human rights during his historic visit, the first by a sitting American president since 1928. But more than a year of warming relations between the nations, separated by just 90 miles, have so far failed to slow the Cuban government’s crackdown on political dissidents.