Dina Stars, a well-known YouTuber in Cuba, was arrested Tuesday by Cuban security forces during a live interview with a Spanish television network presenter.
Stars has been a prominent critic of the regime in Cuba, and was speaking on “Todo Es Mentira,” a Spanish TV news show, when security forces came to her home. “State security is outside,” Stars informed host Marta Flinch after signaling that something was wrong. “I have to go outside.”
Stars has been uploading videos of the protests onto her YouTube channel, in which she has been highly critical of the nation’s leaders.
After leaving to speak with the officers at her door, Stars returns to inform the program that she is being taken to police headquarters.
Cuban state security forces detain independent journalist @DinaStars_ as she she was being interviewed live on TV by @martaflich of Spain. She has been covering the protests.#SOSCuba #PatriaYVida pic.twitter.com/2EgToHXDdq
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) July 13, 2021
“I hold the government responsible for anything that may happen to me,” Stars told the program’s host. “I have to go. They told me to accompany them.”
Stars is just one of approximately 148 people who have been detained or disappeared after a large wave of protests swept across dozens of Cuban cities Sunday, according to Cubalex, a U.S.-based non-profit group that works to restore democracy and the rule of law in Cuba.
“They don’t want anyone to tell the world what is happening. They’ve cut off the internet,” Cubalex wrote in a tweet Tuesday.
A majority of those arrested were taken during the protests over the weekend, but some, including Stars, were picked up later at their homes, according to NPR.
“It is really hard to know and verify what is happening now because of the internet blackouts,” Louise Tillotson, a Caribbean Researcher at Amnesty International, said to NPR. (RELATED: As Blame Flies For Cuba’s Protests, One Major Factor Seems To Go Unmentioned)
Tillotson also noted how little information is available regarding the status of those taken into custody, saying that “we don’t know if these people will be charged, what they will be charged with, or if they will be let go.”