- October 18, 2013
Post submitted by Limor Finkel, Former HRC Global Engagement Program Coordinator
Four Chilean men were convicted for the 2012 horrific murder of Daniel Zamudio, a 24-year-old gay man living in Santiago. His brutal attack and subsequent death led the Chilean government to pass a hate crimes law that includes protection for sexual orientation.
According to testimony, Patricio Ahumada, Alejandro Angulo, Raúl López, and Fabián Mora—self-described neo-Nazis—targeted Zamudio because of his sexual orientation. When the four assailants confronted Zamudio in Santiago’s San Borja park, they asked him if he was gay. When he responded in the affirmative, the four men proceeded to beat Zamudio with glass bottles, carved swastikas into his skin, and performed additional inhumane acts on an unconscious Zamudio. He succumbed to injuries almost a month after the attack.
While the prosecution of these four individuals is a victory for justice, Zamudio’s friends family, and the LGBT community of Chile, some Evangelical and Catholic leaders claim that the anti-discrimination law creates a pathway for same-sex marriage. This parochial statement denies countless LGBT and other minorities vulnerable to similar acts of brutality.
In the United States, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law almost four years ago to the day as a response to the 1998 murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.
Zamudio’s death, like that of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., is a horrific reminder that there is still a long way to go to secure legal protections for LGBT and minority people. In an interview with the BBC, Zamudio’s father said that is was “typical of us, Chileans, that an accident has to happen for us to approve a law. My son will not come back, but this case may end up being good for Chile.”