February 2, 2014 at 11:22 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Rash of alleged anti-LGBT attacks spark outrage in Chile

Chile, vigil, Santiago, gay news, Washington Blade, Daniel Zamudio

Chilean LGBT rights advocates maintain hate crimes remain a serious problem in the country nearly two years after Daniel Zamudio’s death. (Photos courtesy of Fundación Daniel Zamudio.)

Two fatal anti-gay attacks in less than a month in Chile have sparked outrage among LGBT rights advocates in the South American country.

Esteban Parada Armijo, 22, died in a hospital in Santiago, the Chilean capital, on Jan. 30, nearly two weeks after two men stabbed him in the city’s Bellavista neighborhood where a number of gay bars and clubs are located. The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh), a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, said Parada suffered a punctured right lung and broken ribs that damaged arteries and blood vessels during the Jan. 17 attack that took place after he left the bar where he worked.

Authorities have detained one of Parada’s alleged assailants whom Movilh identified as Fernando Medina Medina.

Movilh said Parada told his relatives before his death that his alleged assailants attacked him because he was gay. The LGBT advocacy group noted he was able to identify those whom he said assaulted him.

“My brother did not rob anyone,” said Parada’s sister, Camila Armijo, in a Movilh press release. “They only attacked him.”

Chilean media reports indicate hundreds of people attended Parada’s funeral in Santiago on Sunday.

“Todo Mejora Foundation laments the death of yet another young Chilean, Esteban Parada, in the hands of hatred and violence,” Juan Pablo Fuentealba of the Chilean It Gets Better Foundation (Fundación Todo Mejora in Spanish) told the Washington Blade on Saturday while in New York with a group of seven Latin American LGBT rights advocates who are currently in the U.S. on a State Department-sponsored trip. “Our condolences go to his family and loved ones.”

Parada died less than a month after Guillermo Aguilera Guerrero, 18, allegedly stabbed Alejandro Alfredo Bustamante Godoy in the head, throat and leg during an attack inside his home in the coastal city of Valparaíso. Movilh and Bustamante’s relatives said Aguilera had previously taunted the fast food restaurant owner because of his sexual orientation.

Bustamante, 59, succumbed to his injuries on Jan. 15.

Willian Villanueva, a small-time drug dealer, reportedly said he was going to “kill a faggot” before he allegedly shot Arturo Lomboi to death in the Santiago suburb of Puente Alto in December.

Doctors last June amputated Esteban Navarro Quinchevil’s leg after a group of six men attacked him in the Santiago suburb of Peñalolén because he is gay. A transgender teenager from the coastal city of Cartagena the month before lost an eye during an alleged anti-trans attack.

President Sebastián Piñera in 2012 signed into law a hate crimes and anti-discrimination bill that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The statute is named in honor of Daniel Zamudio Vera, a 24-year-old whom a group of self-described neo-Nazis beat to death in a Santiago park earlier that year because he was gay.

The convicted mastermind of the attack against Zamudio last October received a life sentence for his role in the crime.

“Attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexuals have not stopped,” said Movilh President Rolando Jiménez during the Jan. 20 dedication of a Santiago memorial to honor Zamudio, referring to Bustamante and Lomboi. “They continue with cruel violence.”

Jiménez reiterated his calls for the Chilean government to do more to prevent these attacks – including advancing “more and better conditions of equality in a country where everything indicates that abuses against sexual minorities are on the one hand less, but at the same time more bloody and violent.”

The Chilean Senate last month advanced two bills that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and permit trans people to legally change their name and sex without sex-reassignment surgery, hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations.

Fuentealba pointed out to the Blade that Chile has the highest rate of school bullying in Latin America.

“If this tide of violence is to change, decision makers must allocate funds for the prevention [of] bullying and violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation,” he said.

Santiago Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello also spoke out against Parada’s death, but Movilh pointed out the Roman Catholic Church remains a vocal opponent of LGBT rights in the South American country.

“Any person, regardless of their life choices, regardless of their deeds, is a person and therefore for us is an image and likeness of God,” said Ezzati. “Everything that opposes the dignity of people is for us a grave offense; not only for this person or these people, but is also a grave offense to God who has made us in his image and likeness.”

President-elect Michelle Bachelet supports efforts to strengthen the country’s anti-LGBT hate crimes law. She also backs the trans rights bill and nuptials for gays and lesbians.

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

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  • Chilean government to do more to prevent these attacks – including advancing “more and better conditions of equality in a country where everything indicates that abuses against sexual minorities are on the one hand less, but at the same time more bloody and violent.” Sounds like they have the same issue that America does.

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