‘Hildina’ Exposes Poverty in Cuba on Her YouTube Channel

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

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – 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 US,” 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 Suarez for Translating Cuba


Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

4 thoughts on “‘Hildina’ Exposes Poverty in Cuba on Her YouTube Channel

  • March 13, 2023 at 9:13 am

    I agree with everything you have mentioned. I would add that if other Canadians bring the required items, you mentioned they must give them to individuals one by one as needed. The problem I have found is that if you, say give a schoolteacher 100 pencils and 50 writing books etc., they may take them home and sell them to get money for themselves. I’m not saying this will happen, but it may. I have brought all these items over many years and in most cases when people are given something whatever it may be they are forever grateful and your friend forever. Bring what you can everything is needed, and all is appreciated. Things will get better!

  • March 11, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Sooke wrote: “I read that Canadians are the most numerous tourists in Cuba. I wish they would think twice about subsidizing such a cruel regime”

    As a Canadian, I totally agree Canadian tourists need not subsidize a cruel regime; however, I vehemently disagree Canadians should not visit Cuba. How does one square the circle?

    Sooke, have you ever visited Cuba? Have you ever spoken, witnessed, seen how ordinary Cubans live? Have you ever spoken to a Cuban mother with a sick child who desperately needs some simple over the counter medication for her child but none is available at the local pharmacy. Where is she going to get the medication and who on this earth can possibly help her?

    She can try and see if she can purchase the much needed medication on the black market at an exorbitant financial cost to which she does not have the resources because the money earned by meager Cuban wages will not pay for what she so desperately needs. The same applies to all those Cuban mothers, and parents in general, who must clothe their children with shoes, and other clothing apparel that is too expensive to purchase.

    Here is where the Canadian tourist, or any tourist to Cuba for that matter comes in. Many, many and as you write Sooke – numerous tourists in Cuba – come to visit and vacation on the island. They bring with them suitcases full of clothing, shoes, medicines for those desperate impoverished Cuban residents. Those Cubans receiving this help are so grateful for the generosity shown by not only Canadian tourists but tourists from all parts of the world who go there and share some of their bountiful resources.

    Moreover, how about those tourists, Canadian or otherwise, who go down and stay in “casas particular”. Sooke these are Cuban residential homes owned by Cubans who rent rooms to tourists in order to earn a few dollars to sustain themselves. These are Cuban entrepreneurs trying to earn a living. Without these tourist dollars they would be severely impoverished and financially poverty stricken. Canadians provide a hands up.

    Some Canadian tourists visit the same Cuban family on every visit establishing a friendly lasting relationship between tourist and a local Cuban entrepreneur. Is that not a good thing? The ordinary Cuban certainly thinks so.

    Are Canadians and other tourists to Cuba subsidizing a cruel regime? I am afraid so, however, one does not throw out the baby with the bath water. How else are ordinary Cubans who rely heavily on donations, gifts, monetary contributions, suppose to survive without a modicum of outside help. Many of these Cuban home renters rely heavily on the largesse of vacationers who choose to stay at their home contributing to their financial survival and success. That is a good thing.

    As a proud Canadian, I encourage even more Canadians to go down to Cuba with medicines such as aspirins, cold and flu medications, toothpaste, tooth brushes, kids shoes and clothing, pens and pencils and paper, etc. in their suitcases to be donated to impoverished Cuban families.

    Ordinary Cubans will be eternally grateful to the gifters. The tourist contributor providing the much needed sustenance will help alleviate some of the current suffering ordinary Cubans must endure under a brutal, totalitarian communist government. In this world we need to help not hide from some of the atrocities being committed in some countries we visit.

  • March 10, 2023 at 11:08 pm

    Oh Lord, forgive me when I whine about my comfortable life in Canada, while life in Cuba gets worse and worse every year. The thugs in charge are finding it harder and harder to hide the misery and desperation of the prisoners on the island they rule. They may silence Hilda, but there are plenty of others chronicling daily life in Cuba.

    I read that Canadians are the most numerous tourists in Cuba. I wish they would think twice about subsidizing such a cruel regime.

  • March 10, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    Constant – this is daily reality – no food and rigged black market feed by wouldbe supporters of the govt who self- interest in personal gains reveals a capitalist society cloaked in fraudulent behavior
    Any fool can see this is true.

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