Cuban YouTuber Appears To Be Detained by Police During TV Interview

A social media personality in Cuba who was telling a news program about the turmoil in the country abruptly cut short her live interview, saying that she was being taken away by security forces.

Dina Stars, who has a wide following on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, was appearing on the program Todo Es Mentira (Everything is a Lie) on Spain's Channel Four Tuesday when the dramatic intervention happened.

"I hold the government responsible for anything that may happen to me," she said before leaving. "I have to go. They told me to accompany them."

She had been describing the actions against the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel in which thousands had taken to the streets to protest food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government's handling of COVID-19.

Stars took part in protests on Sunday and has posted footage online in which she criticized the country's leaders.

🚨BREAKING🚨

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

A video clip shared on Twitter apparently shows her going into a police car following the interview with two officers, although her current whereabouts are unknown. Spanish news outlets El Pais and La Vanguardia, as well U.S. news outlet NPR, reported that she had been detained.

On Tuesday morning, she had tweeted she had been contacted by people from the Interior Ministry (Minint) who called me to 'meet us.'"

"I said no, they told me they were going to make a legal citation," she wrote in capital letters, "as soon as the citation reaches me, I will attend with my head held high, I have nothing to hide."

Her most recent post late Tuesday morning said, also in caps, "I'm going to be in the capitol at 2 p.m. and I'm not calling for a demonstration. No to violence. #SOSCuba," using the hashtag of the rebellion movement.

Newsweek has contacted Stars via her Twitter and Instagram accounts, both of which have not been updated since her appearance on Spanish television. Her case was posted on the Facebook page of Desaparecidos (the disappeared) #SOS Cuba.

Since the unrest started in the city of San Antonio de los Baños, soutHwest of Havana, the protests have spread throughout the island and Amnesty International has said that dozens of people have been arrested or reported as missing.

Around 148 people have been arrested or disappeared since the start of the protests, according to the U.S.-based group of human rights lawyers Cubalex, which Newsweek has contacted for comment regarding the fate of Stars.

Its website said on Tuesday that 38 had been detained in the capital and 12 have been released.

Amnesty's Caribbean researcher Louis Tillotson told NPR that the internet blackouts make it difficult to verify what is happening. "We don't know if these people will be charged, what they will be charged with, or if they will be let go," she said.

Meanwhile, in the government mouthpiece Granma, Díaz-Canel denied claims that his government was repressing peaceful demonstrations. "Those who are demonstrating are not demonstrating peacefully," he said on Wednesday.

Pro-Cuban protesters in Miami, Florida
Protesters in Miami, Florida, show their support for the people in Cuba on July 13, 2021. Social media personality Dina Stars was live on Spanish TV when she said she was being detained by police. Joe Raedle/Getty