Two Hate Crimes Already Causing Attention in Chile at the Start of 2019
Movilh (Movement of Homosexual Integration and Liberation), Chile’s leading LGBTQ organization, has reported two horrific cases of homophobic attacks in the last week. In Spanish on their website, the organization shared the violent attacks which took place in the area of Porvenir de Magallanes and Laguna Verde de Valparaíso. The attacks have gotten the attention of local authorities and they are working to assist the victims.
One attack involved José David Muñoz Vargas (52), and one of his sex partners on January 1st. The incident was reported by his niece. The two were at the home of Muñoz Vargas and began being mocked and ridiculed for being gay by some guests in the home. A pot of hot water was thrown at them, but they escaped the attack. Muñoz Vargas was then locked in a bathroom and dunked in a tub with extremely hot water. He suffered bad burns on 22% of his body including his back, glutes, and one of his arms.
Rolando Jiménez, director of Movilh shared:
We are in contact with the relatives who tell us that this was a homophobic attack. We will continue to provide guidance and help in everything they wish in the face of this horrible and despicable fact. Here we must thoroughly investigate this abuse and apply the aggravation of the Zamudio Law against abusers
The Zamudio Law is a piece of legislation that was put in place to protect the LGBTQ community from violent crimes and discrimination. After the horrific murder of Daniel Zamudio in 2012, Chile saw a widespread outrage. Zamudio was attacked in a park in 2012 by four men who all received prison sentences. Zamudio was died after being hospitalized for 25 days according to Gay Star News.
On the same day as the Muñoz Vargas attack, in Valparaíso, a 24-year-old man was attacked in a suspected hate crime. The victim had been traveling in a car with his attackers when around 8pm they became violent and started insulting him for being gay. They drove the man to Laguna Verde where they began to beat and torture him reports Movilh.
Here they stomped on his genitals, burnt cigarettes on his hands, and hit him on the head with a rock. He blacked out soon after and woke up the next day disoriented and lost.
Diego Ríos, a representative for Movilh-Valparaíso expressed:
It is a sad situation that causes a lot of impotence. We call on local authorities to help victims of this type of abuse, to sensitize people about the LGBTI reality and to educate LGBTI youth about their rights and about the dangers they face, in order to prevent further abuses.
Both cases are still under investigation and Movilh is working to bring the attackers to justice.