‘Hildina’, the Young Woman Who Exposes Poverty in Cuba on Her YouTube Channel, is Detained for More Than 7 Hours

Hildina’s channel on YouTube has more than 103,000 subscribers. (YouTube/Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 March 2023 — Cuban YouTuber Hilda Núñez Díaz, also known as Hildina, was arrested on Thursday in Santiago de Cuba by police agents. More than 30 officials blocked access to the block where the young woman lives, they burst into her house and, after conducting a search, they seized her telephone and her computer.

“Hildina is already at home, she was fined and threatened, according to them (the Cuban regime) ‘for using social networks to discredit the government,’ and they made threats of all kinds as they well know how to do,” reported her own Facebook page.

“She has no way to communicate because they kept all her devices (cell phone, laptop, etc.)” adds the publication. “She is feeling very bad psychologically after everything she was put through and being treated like a criminal. Thank you to everyone who has shared what happened with her. Do not stop doing it.”

On Thursday morning, the Facebook page of the  24-year-old Youtuber  had denounced that Hildina was being “interrogated” by State Security after a “big operation.” Several weeks ago, the young woman recorded a video in which she gave an account of the threats to which she was being subjected by the regime’s political police, who had prohibited her from “recording in Havana.”

Twenty-four-year-old Núñez “is being interrogated” by State Security after a “large operation,” states the young woman’s own Facebook page. Several weeks ago, Hildina had filmed a video where she recounted the threats to which she was being subjected by the regime’s political police, which had forbid her from “filming in Havana.”

“They know absolutely everything,” she decried, alluding to the blackmailing agent, who told her they would “complicate her life” and they reminded her that she was the mother of a small boy. “Where is the freedom of speech?” she demanded. “They don’t want people to know the reality of Cuba.”

Núñez continued working on her YouTube channel despite the media campaign against her launched by the regime. A Facebook profile associated with the state, Mercenarios en la mira [Targeted Mercenaries], attempted to discredit the young woman. It accused her of “hypocrisy,” of “manipulating the reality” of Cubans and of “selling herself as a good samaritan.”

A few minutes before Hildina’s arrest was made public, the same profile published another post. They described her as, uncovered, a “terrorist,” an “imposter with proven links to those who from the U.S. fund and incite violent acts on our national territory.” In addition, they mention, her presumed links with businessman Manuel Milanés and YouTuber Ultrack.

“Behind Hildina and her ‘inoffensive’ videos is the same strategy which ’spawned’ the most rancid and violent mercenaries living in the U.S.,” spewed Mercenarios en la mira [Targeted Mercenaries].

In her last livestream, on March 5th, Hildina said she received 34,000 pesos — around $200 — from a subscriber to her channel who lives in Germany. With that money, she went to the streets to buy food and give it to several disadvantaged people in Santiago de Cuba. In the video, the young woman divulged that State Security had prevented her from filming in a market in the city and that a woman had reprimanded her, calling her an “opponent.”

The report of Núñez’s arrest resulted in a wave of indignation among users. “Her content only talks about the day-to-day for Cubans and helps a lot of needy people with basic needs,” stated Jonathan Trujillo Pérez. “This is a violation of human rights. Once again, censure and the lack of freedom of expression are on display.”

The Cuban regime has toughened repressive measures against activists and opponents who live on the Island. The pressure for them to stop publishing content that challenge the government propaganda is one of the priorities of the political police.

Duanys Moreno, the young man provided minute-by-minute reports of the explosion at the Supertanker base in Matanzas, was harassed by State Security and spent several days subjected to torture and threats. Months later, he once again filmed from exile. “The most important thing in a struggle is to preserve life,” he declared to 14ymedio, alluding to the risk YouTubers face when complaining about the crisis in Cuba and the strict surveillance to which the regime subjects them.

Ruhama Fernández, also from Santiago, exiled today in Florida, was the victim of harassment and repression by the Political Police, who did not stop pressuring her to stop doing her work on YouTube. The young woman denounced many of the ills of the city and the country, such as the chronic shortage of food and the misery in which many families survive.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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