Gay Chilean Man Remains in a Coma After Brutal Attack

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Tuesday March 6, 2012

A 24-year-old gay Chilean man remains in a coma after what an LGBT rights organization described as a group of neo-Nazis brutally attacked him in a downtown Santiago neighborhood over the weekend.

El Mercurio reported that Daniel Zamudio, 24, was found in Parque San Borja early Saturday morning. El Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual (Movilh), the country's largest LGBT rights group, told La Tercera that Zamudio's attackers struck him with blunt objects before they cut off part of his ear, carved swastikas into his abdomen and burned other parts of his body with cigarettes.

Zamudio's mother told the newspaper that her son had gone to work at a store on Friday, but she did not know his whereabouts until he was found in a park the following day. She told La Tercera that neo-Nazi groups had previously threatened Zamudio inside a popular Santiago nightclub.

The attack has renewed calls for Chilean lawmakers to pass a law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said earlier today that the government will expedite the proposed measure.

"The aggression towards Daniel Zamudio is a murderous act of violence that I repudiate in the name of the government and personally from the depths of my heart and soul," said Hinzpeter, according to El Mercurio. "I believe there is nothing more detestable for the construction of a fraternal society than the lack of respect and consideration of diversity."

Ricky Martin and other celebrities have also spoken out against the attack.

"No more hate, no more discrimination," tweeted Martin on Monday night. "I hope justice is finally served. Much light for Daniel and his entire family."

Members of Zamudio's family and Movilh publicly denounced the attack during a press conference in Santiago. They also asked the public for information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of those who attacked Zamudio.

A march is also scheduled to take place in the Chilean capital on Saturday afternoon.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.