Monday, February 25, 2008

Mexico: Man stoned to death, blamed for "infecting people with AIDS"

Two reports over the weekend about a horrible murder in Acapulco, Mexico.

On Friday La Cronica de Hoy reported that the body of a man later identified as 48 year old Alejandro Fuentes Mejía was found abandoned on a dirt road near a hospital where he was employed. The man, who was still wearing an Institute of Social Security and Services (ISSSTE) uniform, was last seen at work on Wednesday.

Forensic authorities reported that the body showed trauma to the head, signs of torture and indications that he had been beaten to death. He was identified by family.

Today's Novedades de Acapulco says that the man was beaten with rocks and asphyxiated. The body was found with his hands tied behind his back.

Unfortunately, violent deaths are not an exception in Mexico but what caught my attention about this particular murder was the sign that was found on top of Mr. Mejía's body.

La Cronica says letter written in black ink on a piece of yellow cardboard read: "This is what happens to me for going around infecting people with AIDS" [Eso me pasa por andar infectando de sida a la gente].

Irresponsibly, La Cronica's headline reads "For spreading AIDS, an employee of ISSSTE is executed in Acapulco."

I assume they are going by the sign found laying on the man's body as described in the police report and that they have yet to establish whether the man was HIV positive, much less "spreading" the illness.

In addition, though I can't assume that the man was gay, the language in the note is striking because it is the same language that the extreme right in Latin America uses against the gay community when blaming it for the general ills of a society (as do homophobic extreme right wing bigots in the United States).

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this turns out to be a hate crime against a gay man although I doubt there'll be much follow-up.

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