SANTIAGO, Chile — Daniel Zamudio-Vera, an openly gay Chilean man who spent 24 days in a medically-induced coma following a brutal attack March 3 by members of a suspected neo-Nazi group, has died. He was 24 years old.
“I sadly need to report the death of Daniel Zamudio this evening at 7:45 p.m.,” announced Emilio Villalon, the Director of the Santiago de Chile Central Hospital, on Tuesday evening.
“Unfortunately, even though the team has worked tremendously hard to save him, he died. We send condolences to his parents, his family, wishing to tell them to have strength, as everyone knows we were very worried about him,” Villalon said.
Chilean Vice President Rodrigo Hinzpeter arrived at the hospital shortly after the death was publicly announced to personally deliver condolences to Zamudio-Vera’s family on behalf of the government.
Also present at the hospital were Chilean health minister, Jaime Mañalich, and the mayor of Santiago, Pablo Zalaquett.
Nearly a hundred persons gathered outside the hospital in a show of support and solidarity with the family and for Zamudio-Vera, upon arrival of the dignitaries at the hospital, clamored to “legislate please, stop the show, stop the demagoguery.”
In response to the protests, Zalaquett said; “I understand the suffering of these people, but I speak for myself. I think it is unfortunate what is happening. But I understand it is a moment of pain.”
The spokesman of the Movement of Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH), Jaime Parada, said;
“Daniel is a victim (…) It becomes a martyr of sexual minorities, did nothing more than having an orientation different sexual, his only sin was being born as born. ”
Zamudio-Vera was severely and brutally beaten by a group of suspected neo-Nazis in the Park San Borja of Santiago March 3, who violently hit him on his head and burned his body with cigarettes. Hospital authorities confirmed that Nazi symbols had also been carved in his body and the attackers also cut off part of one ear.
Chilean police have arrested four men aged between ages 19 and 25, who have been accused of attempted murder, although after Zamudio’s death, the case will likely be elevated to murder according to Chilean prosecutors.
The suspects have denied all accusations, but their criminal records show they have been arrested before on charges of xenophobia.
The violent attack against Zamudio caused outrage in Chile, and his deteriorating condition was followed closely by the press and the nation’s population as well as reports in the global press, drawing sharp criticism over the lack of LGBT-inclusive hate crime laws in the South American country.