Thursday, March 01, 2007

Colombia: University professor murdered in Cartagena

On Sunday, El Universal newspaper reported that the body of 43 year old Rolando Pérez (left) was found in his apartment with a pillow over his head and traumatic injuries to his head and body that were the probable cause of his death.

Pérez, who was born in Cuba, had lived in the Colombian colonial city for ten years and was a communications professor at the Cartagena campus of the prestigious Jorge Tadeo Lozano University. He also launched a children's foundation to help homeless children in the city.

Recently he had also produced a series of public service announcements for several educational institutions to be broadcast through radio, television and print media.

The paper reports that Pérez was last seen on February 22nd when he bought bottled juice and a cup of yogurt at a nearby deli in the afternoon and only found last Saturday, two days later, when friends and co-workers reported that he had missed a class appointment and some scheduled work-related meetings.

Police told the paper that there were no indications of a forced entry, that the apartment door was locked in from the inside, and that they did not suspect robbery as a motive. They said they were trying to contact family members in Cuba and that Pérez was a father to children that still lived in Cuba.

Sunday's El Tiempo also picked up on the story. They say that those who knew Pérez described him as a straight-arrow guy who was always diligent in meeting his professional commitments, a great friend and co-worker, if extremely discrete about his private life.

What was problematic were comments made by Bolivar Chief of Police Carlos Mena Bravo made to El Tiempo:
All evidence that has been collected, and the information that we have verified through the Police Department, everything indicates that the motive was absolutely passionate [in nature], as the citizen led a life of disorder, was promiscuous and, in his condition as a homosexual, had many people as his partners
Confirming that there was no forced entry into the locked apartment, the Chief also said that they were evaluating interviews with "precisely, his companions, homosexuals" to determine who might have killed him.

According to an e-mail that reached my mail box yesterday, Marcela Sanchez, Executive Director of Colombia Diversa, a non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of gays and lesbians, has already asked Colombia's Attorney General, the National Public Defender and the General Prosecutor to investigate the crime and raised concerns about Officer Bravo's comments to El Tiempo, which they called "prejudicial" and might call into question the police departments objectivity in properly investigating the crime.

1 comment:

Will said...

I hope one day we can have a greater degree of tolerance and love among ourselves. There is far too much hatred going on.