From a Spanish-language article by AFP, an excerpt of which I have translated to English:
The Ecuadorean immigrant José Sucuzhañay, of 31 years of age, was "vilely assassinated for xenophobic reasons, for homophobia; They mistook him for a homosexual and was with his brother" as they walked in Brooklyn, New York, said Correa.Sucuzhañay and his brother Romel were attacked in the early morning of December 7th by what are described as three black men who wielded a bat. While Romel was able to escape without serious injury, José passed away on December 12th after spending days in a coma at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
"We will fight together ... to forever uproot these aberrations of certain maladjusted [individuals], uproot them from the face of the earth, from humanity: Xenophobia, homophobia and all kinds of discrimination, all kinds of violence," he said.
President Correa's comments were similar to those made yesterday by another of the Sucuzhañay brothers during José's burial in Cuenca, Ecuador. From The Associated Press:
"My heart is broken and so is that of all my family," his brother German said during a funeral Mass in the cathedral of the southern town of Cuenca. Sucuzhanay's coffin was scattered with roses and covered with the Ecuadorean flag.Interestingly it was yet another Sucuzhañay brother who lives in New York that had previously denied that any anti-gay slurs had been shouted during the attack as police reports and most accounts picked up by media. From a December 12th article in El Diario La Prensa:
"The brutal killing of my brother Osvaldo is the result of xenophobia, of homophobia and racism that our compatriots are experiencing in these times," he said, calling on Ecuador's government to demand that U.S. authorities solve the crime.
[Diego] Sucuzhañay denied the versions [of events] given by authorities that his brothers Romel and José Osvaldo were shouted anti-gay phrases.The apparent unease in calling the attack a homophobic one also was reflected by calls for action from certain Latino leaders and Ecuadorean community organizations in New York who highlighted the xenophobic aspect of insults that were allegedly shouted during the attack but never made any mention that there might have been anti-gay slurs shouted as well.
"My brother Romel told me that they shouted insults against Latinos, that they shouted 'Hispanics, sons of bitches,' but not anti-gay insults."
President Correa might have chosen the same route but he seems to understand that the fact that the Sucuzhañay brothers were attacked because a few guys thought they were a gay couple is as troubling as the fact that they were attacked because they were Latinos. Not surprising, then, that he is one of the most progressive Latin American presidents on LGBT issues.
re: José Sucuzhañay:
- Photos: José Sucuzhañay vigil in Brooklyn (Dec. 15, 2008)
- Human Rights Campaign stands up for straight immigrant in gay bashing (Dec. 14, 2008)
- José O. Sucuzhañay has passed away (Dec. 14, 2008)
- Two Sunday vigils in response to Buswick hate crime (Dec. 11, 2008)
- Bushwick attack: Were anti-gay slurs shouted by assailants? Does it make it less of a heinous crime if the answer is 'no'? (Dec. 11, 2008)
- More on Bushwick attack against Ecuadorean brothers (Dec. 8, 2008)
- Breaking: Anti-gay, anti-Latino slurs shouted at Ecuadorean men during beating in Brooklyn (Dec. 8, 2008)
- New constitution grants gays civil union rights, bans adoption rights (Sept. 29, 2008)
- President Correa falls into political trap, accedes to right wing demands, says gay couples deserve some rights (April 7, 2008)
- President Correa on same-sex marriage, abortion and including 'God' in the constitution (March 31, 2008)
- A push to eliminate constitutional protections for gays and lesbians (March 26, 2008)
- Defense Minister resigns in midst of a 'gays in the military' controversy (Sept. 6, 2007)