14ymedio’s Faces of 2020: Ruhama Fernández, Youtuber

The young ‘youtuber’ Ruhama Fernández knew that she was banned from leaving the country when she went to get her passport. (Facebook/Ruhama Fernández)

14ymedio biggerRuhama Fernández became known in March, when she won the contest for influencers organized by the ‘Red Cuban Power’ platform, in the category “future society, dreams for Cuba.”

On her YouTube channel, the 21-year-old former medical student from Santiago de Cuba talks about political and social issues, always from a critical point of view towards the regime.

After winning the award she was a victim of harassment by State Security. Just one month later, she was summoned by the police in her hometown and, in July, the authorities forced the interruption of the internet service she received through an informal network managed by one of her neighbors. The police visited the neighbor and threatened to cancel all her service if she continued to facilitate the connection for Fernández.

When she went to get her passport to travel to the United States, where her parents live, in August, she discovered that she is regulated – the island’s authorities euphemism for being banned from traveling – for reasons of “public interest” and was prohibited from leaving the country.

In recent months, the authorities have continued to summon her frequently. In one of her last interrogations, in early November, she reported that a State Security officer sexually harassed her. “Do you know how beautiful you are to be involved in that?” the agent told her, Fernández said, disgusted.
Her case, reported by the independent media, was put forward by Human Rights Watch (HRW) as an example of the harassment to which the Cuban government is subjecting influencers , who have become a new target of repression on the island.

See more 14ymedio’s series Faces of 2020


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