A hate crime in Chile

Here’s what the Associated Press reports on the ugly homophobic attack in Santiago:

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A brutal attack on a gay Chilean man is drawing strong condemnation from political leaders.

Doctors in Santiago say 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio is in an induced coma while being treated for severe head trauma and a broken right leg suffered in Saturday’s beating. A swastika was drawn on his chest.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter posted a message on his Twitter account Tuesday saying he repudiated the homophobic attack and expressed “total solidarity” with Zamudio. Hinzpeter recently said Chile should consider enacting a hate crime law to deal with such attacks.Opposition politician Gabriel Silver also condemned the beating and urged the government to move quickly on the anti-discrimination legislation.

Zamudio’s family told the Chilean press that their son had received threats prior to the attack, and said they would take legal action against those responsible.  Rodrigo Hinzpeter, the interior minister, promised that the government would quickly send a hate crimes bill to Congress. Stay tuned.

A Chilean news roundup

“Do Graves of Dictators Really Become Shrines?” is the title of a report in Foreign Policy http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/10/25/do_graves_of_controversial_leaders_really_become_shrines?page=0,9 surveying the funerals of over a dozen autocratic leaders, including General Augusto Pinochet.  The “tour of contentious burials from Qaddafi to Hitler” observes that Pinochet’s ashes were hidden away at a family estate, Los Boldos, located on the Chilean coast. Not only is there no public memorial to Pinochet anywhere in the country, but Los Boldos itself has fallen upon hard times and earlier this year police discovered a small marijuana plantation on the property, according to The Guardian newspaper. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/07/chile-pinochet

The Economist has yet another good article on Chile’s student protests and the stalled negotiations with the government: http://www.economist.com/node/21534785

The website Earthquake Report is posting updates on the Hudson volcano explosion in southern Chile, where at least 128 people have been evacuated: http://earthquake-report.com/2011/10/27/chilean-authorities-are-raising-hudson-volcano-cerro-hudson-to-red-alert-after-minor-eruption/

The Discovery Channel’s Spanish-language affiliate has produced a program on neo-Nazi groups in Chile as part of its “Mundos Extremos” series, which is scheduled to air December 7.  According to the channel’s web site, there are numerous youth groups in Santiago “which live under xenophobic and violent rules and chauvinistic dogmas” and find inspiration in Hitler’s national socialism. http://www.tudiscovery.com/web/mundos-extremos/episodios/

The Santiago Times published a report on emergency bioterrorism drills underway in Chile,  under the auspices of Organization of American States (OAS) http://www.santiagotimes.cl/chile/science-technology/22781-chile-hosts-oas-first-mock-bioterrorism-attack.  Chile was selected for the exercise in view of the amount of air traffic Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez airport receives, making the capital “highly susceptible to airborne contagions.”