Gay Man Brutally Attacked in Chilean Capital Remains in Critical Condition

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Sunday March 25, 2012

A gay man who was brutally attacked in a park in the Chilean capital earlier this month remains hospitalized in critical condition.

La Tercera and other Chilean newspapers and media outlets suggested over the weekend that Daniel Zamudio is potentially near death. Zamudio's condition deteriorated after he suffered a heart attack on March 19.

Movilh spokesperson Oscar Rementera told reporters on Sunday that Zamudio's family has decided to keep him on life support.

"Daniel Zamudio's family decided not to disconnect him," said Rementera, as La Tercera reported. "They are going to wait for his body to stop working on its own and this is going to happen within the next 48 hours and it will most likely going to be today."

Emilio Villaln, director of Hospital de Urgencia Asistencia Pblica, confirmed late on Sunday that Zamudio remains in critical condition.

"His condition is still critical and he has a somber prognosis," said Villaln, as reported in El Mercurio.

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 Zamudio, 24, in Parque San Borja in downtown Santiago on March 6. The suspects who reportedly called themselves neo-Nazis 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.

The attack sparked widespread outrage across Chile and throughout Latin America.

President Sebastin Piera and Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter met with members of Zamudio's family and Movilh a few days after the attack. Hinzpeter has also urged Chilean lawmakers to pass a law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Movilh members and supporters on Sunday night held a candlelight vigil outside of the Santiago hospital where Zamudio remains in intensive care. Others have taken place in Concepcin and other cities across the country in recent days.

Prosecutors will likely charge Lpez, Angulo, Ahumada and Mora with murder if Zamudio succumbs to his injuries. The four men could face more than 40 years in prison if convicted.

"The doctors stressed that Daniel continues to fight," said Rementera as La Tercera reported. "He doesn't want to go, but they (his family) is waiting for his passing."

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.