There is a lot happening in Cuba right now that is begging a lot of political questions regarding its communist regime and whether or not the U.S. should get involved or how given its agreement to not intervene with Cuban affairs. But I am not here to discuss those questions. What I do know is that there is more suffering and violence than the media knows. My extended family is living through this crisis in Cuba right now, and honestly I'm scared for their lives.

I am first generation Cuban-American, absolutely thrilled and grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America. My mother, a U.S. citizen longer than she was a Cuban one, fled to this country in 1980 in escape of the communist regime. A harrowing tale, she had to leave her entire family behind at just 17. But she never forgot them and for the last 41 years has remained close with them despite an ocean between them, and done everything she could from afar to help their quality of life as they were not fortunate in being able to leave.

But now, as the people of Cuba reach a high crisis point struggling to survive, information about what is happening to our family is scarce. Two days ago was the last communication to the United States that my extended family could make. According to them, their small neighborhood in Havana is in complete chaos. The local bakery and other buildings are destroyed. At least three police vehicles were turned over by protestors. There have already been deaths and several beatings, including a stoning. Power and water has been shut off as consequence for protesters in the streets asking for the government to feed its people. Despite that, they say there is a hopefulness. For the first time the village is banding together, no matter the consequence, to stand up and fight for their lives. It's a notion no one's dared to have in decades. And at the very least it's comforting to know that hope has not left them... But that's all we know for now.

The internet has been shut down for the entire island. We haven't been able to make contact in almost 48 hours. There is an anxiety that comes in waves at the uncertainty of what is happening to my family, and to the rest of the people in general. My thoughts are consumed with dread as I try to remain hopeful. I am also overwhelmed with gratitude that my life is here, in Idaho. And for whatever flaws the state and this country may have, it is not lost on me that I am privileged almost beyond measure.

I know I can't be the only person in Idaho whose family is being affected by this. To anyone who has family going through hardship, my heart is with you and I want to hear your story.

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