July 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Chilean government official meets with anti-gay attack victim’s family

Esteban Navarro, Chile, gay news, Washington Blade

Esteban Navarro (Photo courtesy of Movilh Chile)

A Chilean government official on Wednesday met with the family of a young gay man who lost his leg as the result of what LGBT advocates maintain was an anti-gay attack.

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh,) a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, said in a press release that Cecelia Pérez, a spokesperson for President Sebastián Piñera, met with Esteban Navarro Quinchevil’s parents at the presidential palace in Santiago, the country’s capital. Pérez also met with a transgender teenager from the coastal city of Cartagena who lost an eye during an alleged anti-trans attack in May.

“Pérez said she was shocked by the acts of discrimination described to her,” Movilh said. “She announced that she will instruct the authorities to become part of both cases through the filing of charges (against those responsible.)”

The Santiago Times reported six men attacked Navarro, 19, with knives, machetes and iron bars at a soccer field in the Santiago suburb of Peñalolén on June 23. Movil said the assailants shouted anti-gay slurs at Navarro before they struck him in his head, body and one of his legs.

Doctors at the Santiago hospital at which Navarro has remained in critical condition since the attack earlier this week amputated his injured leg.

Piñera in July 2012 signed an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes and anti-discrimination bill in response to the death of Daniel Zamudio, a gay man whom a group of self-described neo-Nazis allegedly beat to death in a downtown Santiago park four months earlier.

Authorities have yet to take Navarro’s alleged assailants into custody, but Navarro’s family and Movilh on June 26 filed a formal attempted murder complaint under Chile’s anti-hate crimes law.

Movilh spokesperson Óscar Rementería on July 7 complained that local authorities have “remained absolutely silent” on the cases of Navarro and the trans teenager attacked in Cartagena.

“Here there aren’t any hate crimes that are more or less important than others,” he said, referring to the widespread outrage that Zamudio’s death sparked across Chile. “They are all serious and merit as a matter of ethics a forceful response from the authorities.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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