November 24, 2015 at 1:34 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Memorial to gay Chilean hate crime victim damaged

Daniel Zamudio, gay news, Washington Blade

A memorial placed at the spot in a Santiago park where a group of self-described neo-Nazis fatally attacked Daniel Zamudio in 2012 was damaged by fire last week. (Photo courtesy of Patricio Angel)

A fire last week damaged a memorial to a gay Chilean man who was beaten to death.

Fundación Daniel Zamudio, a foundation established in Daniel Zamudio’s memory, on Monday said in a press release that it appears candles left at the memorial sparked the fire that damaged it. Initial reports indicated that vandals had set the blaze.

The memorial, which is located in Parque San Borja in the Chilean capital of Santiago, is located at the exact spot where four self-described neo-Nazis attacked Zamudio on March 3, 2012, because he was gay.

Zamudio succumbed to his injuries several weeks later.

Zamudio’s death prompted Chilean lawmakers to approve an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes and anti-discrimination bill that had languished in the country’s Congress for seven years. Then-President Sebastián Piñera in July 2012 signed the measure — which bares Zamudio’s name — into law.

The four men who were convicted of killing Zamudio received sentences that range from 7-years to life in prison.

“It started a small ‘click’ in the people’s minds,” Jaime Parada Hoyl, a gay councilman in the Santiago neighborhood of Providencia, told the Washington Blade in 2012 during an interview in D.C. “This case was an earthquake of a loss of a human life, but it was a point of inflection.”

Chilean lawmakers in the years following Zamudio’s death have extended civil unions to same-sex couples.

Chile co-sponsored a resolution against anti-LGBT violence and discrimination that the U.N. Human Rights Council ratified in September 2014. The South American country and the U.S. in August co-hosted the first-ever LGBT-specific U.N. Security Council meeting that focused on the Islamic State’s persecution of Iraqis and Syrians accused of committing sodomy.

Chile is also a member of the Global Equality Fund, a private-public partnership managed by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development that seeks to promote LGBT rights around the world.

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

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