14ymedio, Havana, Last week, Ruhama Fernández delivered, via direct phone call from Cuba, a powerful testimony during a round-table meeting in Miami with GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, legislators from Florida and several influencers, artists and community leaders from the Cuban diaspora.
14ymedio, Havana, August 10th, 2021 — Cuban Youtuber Ruhama Fernández was arrested by Cuban police Tuesday morning, as she was preparing to leave her house in Santiago the Cuba. She was taken to the police station and criminal investigation unit in the Versalles neighborhood. Fernández was scheduled to participate in an online event this Wednesday, where influencers — inside and outside the island — were planning to debate the future democratization process in Cuba.
Venezuelan writer Deivy Garrido, who has been in direct communication with a friend of Fernández who was able to reach the police station to ask about the detainee, reported on his Twitter account that the Youtuber “was to be accused of ’contempt’ and would continue to be detained for 72 hours” until authorities could reach “a decision.”
Relatives of the young woman and social media users who follow her denounced the repressive act as “another illegal” and “arbitrary” detention by the authorities. The legal services NGO Cubalex pointed out that Ruhama Fernández is one of the “most harassed” activists on the island.
Ruhama Fernández is constantly reporting on many of the issues affecting the area where she lives, such as the chronic shortage of food and hardships in which many families survive. She herself has been the victim of harassment and repression by State Security and Police agents, who have not stopped pressuring her to stop doing her work.
For a year now, she has been under constant surveillance from the island’s authorities for for what they call “public interest reasons.” This is a mechanism used by the authorities to arbitrarily restrict the free movement of activists, independent journalists and dissidents and opposition figures in general, a practice that has become a common repressive method.
The debate in which Fernández was going to participate this Wednesday also includes host Alex Otaola, actor Roberto San Martín, Cuban activist Eliécer Ávila, economist Manuel Milanés, the poet Luis Dener, who lives in Norway, and the Youtubers known as Old Hardcore and KarlitoMadrid. The debated was going to be moderated by journalist Gabriel Bauducco. It is sponsored by the Freedom and Federalism Foundation (Fundación Federalismo y Libertad), a private non-profit organization based in Argentina that aims to “promote the values of a free and democratic society.”
In March of 2020, Fernández was one of the winners of the contest for Cuban influencers organized by the Red Cuban Power platform. Recently, she participated in the forum “The role of influencers in the Cuban public sphere,” promoted by the Cuba Program of the School of Politics and International Relations at the Sergio Arboleda University of Colombia.
* Translator’s Update: DEVELOPING STORY:
Fernandez was released in the late night/early AM hours of 8/11/2021, and she posted on Twitter a live audio as proof. She described how 15 agents forcibly entered in her house, confiscated all her video equipment, including her laptop, while filming everything with their own camera man. Fernandez said she will be sharing on social media and live videos soon.
Translated by: Mailyn Salabarria
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