Four Arrested in Brutal Attack on Gay Chilean Man

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Monday March 12, 2012

Chilean authorities late on Friday arrested four young men in connection with the brutal attack of a gay man in downtown Santiago earlier this month.

Prosecutors maintain that Ral Alfonso Lpez Fuentes, 25, Alejandro Axel Angulo Tapia, 26, Patricio Ivn Ahumada Garay, 25, and Fabin Alexis Mora Mora, 19, brutally attacked Daniel Zamudio, 24, in Parque San Borja on March 6. The suspects allegedly struck Zamudio with bottles, rocks and other blunt objects before they cut off part of his ear, carved swastikas into his chest and burned other parts of his body with cigarettes.

El Movimiento de Integracin y Liberacin Homosexual (Movilh) and various Chilean newspapers have reported that Lpez, Angulo, Ahumada and Mora called themselves "nazis del Centro" or "the Downtown Nazis."

Movilh spokesperson Rolando Jimnez told El Mercurio after police arrested the four suspects that they confessed to the crime.

"We are happy," said Jimnez. "When the authorities told me (about the arrests) I immediately called Daniel's family."

The attack that left Zamudio in a coma sparked widespread outrage across Chile.

President Sebastin Piera and Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, who has urged the country's lawmakers to pass a law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, met members of Zamudio's family and Movilh at the presidential palace last Thursday. Ricky Martin and other celebrities have also spoken out against the attack.

The four suspects will remain in custody while the investigation continues.

Meanwhile, Movilh said on its Twitter page last Thursday that Zamudio has opened his eyes and has regained consciousness.

"The country is with you," said the LGBT rights organization.

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.