Friday, February 29, 2008

Update: More shocking details emerge in murder of gay man in Mexico

Reports of violent murders of LGBT people throughout Latin America are unfortunately still common but a few days ago there was one particular murder in in Acapulco, Mexico, that shocked me based on the few details that were reported in media.

The body of 48-year old
Alejandro Fuentes Mejia was found on the morning of February 21st with his hands tied behind his back in a dirt road that cut through a park near his place of employment.

Mejia had last been seen the day before at his place of work - the Institute of Social Security and Services - and was still wearing his work uniform. His body showed signs of torture and indications that he had been stoned to death.

The most shocking part? A sign made out of yellow cardboard that was left on the body that read "This is what happens to me for going around infecting people with AIDS."

When I first wrote about this murder
on February 25th, I chided mexican newspaper La Cronica de Hoy for their speculative headline ("For spreading AIDS, an employee of ISSSTE is executed in Acapulco") and also wrote the following:
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.
My hunch was right.

On Feb. 26th, Mexican LGBT web portal published a follow up story that revealed a few more details.

1. There was one additional message written on the cardboard sign that read "This is what happens to me for having infected my son with AIDS."

2. According to the article, the man was HIV positive and gay and held an administrative post at the clinic where he worked.

3. Several LGBT rights and HIV-prevention organizations such as the Guerrero State Gay Association Against AIDS, Catholics fof the Right to Chose, Living with Chilpancingo and the Democratic Network and Sexuality are demanding a full investigation as well as passage of a hate crimes bill.

I expressed doubt that the crime would be resolved so I am glad that has followed up and that these organizations are putting pressure on the Guerrero State government to find the murderers and take them to justice.

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