The Parents of a Priest Are Injured in an Assault on His Home in Santiago de Cuba

Elsy Hung and Nelson Naun, parents of the Catholic priest Leandro Naun. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 June 2023 — The parents of the Cuban Catholic priest Leandro Naun were assaulted this Monday in the Santa María neighborhood, on the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba. Three masked men, who broke into their house around midnight to rob them, were discovered by Elsy Hung, the priest’s mother. In their escape, they beat her and hit her husband, Nelson Naun, on the head with a machete.

The thieves entered the house through “a side door that was weakened by the recent rains,” the priest tells 14ymedio from Italy where he is visiting, after denouncing the aggression on Tuesday morning. His father is now awaiting an operation in the hospital, and the priest has been able to communicate with him. He says that “there was a fracture, but no brain damage.”

“The thieves, before taking something, were at the refrigerator eating and drinking water,” he says, as a symptom of the moral deterioration that the country is experiencing. “The violence was unleashed when they were discovered” by the mother, who ended up kicked to the floor and asking for help. His father came to her aid and was wounded.

Naun says that his colleagues in the diocese of Santiago de Cuba immediately expressed their concern and that the archbishop’s driver, Luis, was the one who went to his house during the early hours of the morning, to take his father to the hospital for the operation, because, according to the family, “there is no ambulance.”

The priest considers the aggression as a “manifestation of the acute crisis” on the Island, in addition to reflecting “the loss of values and criminal impunity.” Despite everything, he considers it useful to denounce what happened in the middle of the current “wave of violence”: “My testimony is to help hundreds of people who suffer the same or worse but are anonymous due to the lack of repercussions.”

Asked if these assaults can be considered as an indirect reprisal to the Catholic Church, Naun is categorical: “We have no proof.” The police, he adds, continue to investigate the fact and look for those responsible, who the priest characterized as “three thin and masked young people.”

On May 19, the priest Eliosbel Pereira, rector of the church of San Francisco de Santiago de Cuba, also suffered a machete assault in the theft of his motorcycle. The news was spread after Dionisio García Ibáñez, archbishop of that diocese, sent a statement by WhatsApp.

According to journalist Adrián Martínez Cádiz, the aggressor, who was disguised as a doctor, gave the priest “a deep wound in his left hand” with a machete. Pereira had to undergo surgery at the provincial hospital of Santiago de Cuba “in a complex operation that lasted several hours, where his hand was reconstructed.”

On April 29, the church of San Charbel and Santo Tomás de Villanueva, located in the Havana municipality of Playa, was looted, and a week before, there was an attempted robbery at the San Juan María Vianney Priest House.

Two other robberies occurred on March 7 and April 5, respectively, in the parish of the Sacred Heart and the chapel of Jesús Obrero, both located in El Vedado, both under the responsibility of the Dominican friar Lester Zayas, one of the priests who is most critical of the regime.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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