Monthly Archives: October 2013

South American Sundays


Zamudio’s Attackers Found Guilty – Updated



On pages 219 and 220 you can read the sentences of the four men convicted in this homicide case. One received a life sentence in prison, as he was deemed the primary aggressor and instigator. Two others received 15 years apiece for their intermediary role and the fourth was given seven years as it is claimed he acted in no manner at all. That is, he neither attempted to stop the assault or notify authorities, nor physically participated in the brutal activities in question. He watched.

I have no comment on the duration of their sentences. His own family comes down split on both sides. What I do want to point out is that the day before they were sentenced, another young man called Wladimir Sepúlveda was attacked while being called maricón (translation: faggot) repeatedly according to several witnesses. It is alleged that there were six attackers in this case. He is in a coma now, and the doctors have said they will be surprised if he comes out alive. The neurologist monitoring his progress has classified it as “null”.

Reading the different comments below various articles online, I’ve found most people to be outraged that this disgusting event has been duplicated. Of course, there must be the fools who suggest this world is a better place with one fewer maricón in it, and have the ovaries/balls/cajones large and fuzzy enough to open their big yaps, veiled in online anonymity. Another questioned the reasoning of a hate crimes law, which is nothing new. I have been conflicted about this as well; it’s easy to see both sides of the argument. Here it is known as the Ley [law] Zamudio. Another commenter mentioned that a law like this would be equally applied to all groups. For instance, if a gang of queers [I use this term with love] were to get together and beat up a straight person, the same law would hold force.

But would people ever beat someone up for simply being heterosexual? Of course not! The would be laughable if it weren’t such a terrible concept. So I have to agree. I do think that if someone were clearly the victim of aggression based on their class of person – acts so serious as to leave them in a coma, to break their bones in such a way that they jut out of the body at odd angles, bash their skull over and over again into the concrete ground and burn messages and symbols into their skin with a cigarette – the motive should be considered in addition to the outcome of the offense. This doesn’t (usually) happen in a non-hate motivated crime. Anyone – trans, straight, gay or somewhere in between – walking down the street could be the victim of this kind of hate ideology made manifest. Of course, hate crimes laws will only be useful if actually applied, as in, the police describe the case as such, which is another problem entirely. Groups like Movilh state that the carabineros [police officers] in Chile are not using the Zamudio hate crimes law as intended.


Part A:

Last year in March, Daniel Zamudio was brutally attacked by four men in a park and left there after a torture session that lasted several hours late one weekend night. They urinated on him, burned him with cigarettes, drew swastikas on him and repeatedly beat his head into the ground by kicking him and throwing large rocks. This trauma to the head is what killed him. After over three weeks spent in the ICU his pain ended and he left this world. The case received national attention and Chile went through a collective sadness and anger over what happened. It lead to the passing of the hate crimes law that had been lingering for years. I spoke with several people at the vigils about how they hadn’t approved of homosexuality because it had been instilled in them by their culture or church. But now, with this grievous event they felt differently; they were taught wrongly. ¿Realmente, que me importa a mí la sexualidad del otro? Change always takes its time. Daniel will not be forgotten.

In court they said they chose him to beat up because he was gay. A year and a half later, his four young attackers will be sentenced toward the end of October, from 15 years for the one with no criminal background up to life in prison for the group leader.

Perú Gourmet & LGBT Film Fest


Perú Gourmet has kicked off its four day event in Parque Bustamante, one green line train stop from Plaza Italia. It goes through Sunday and I’ll be making my way there tomorrow to what I hope is a Peruvian food heaven filled with bathtubfuls of ceviche, Cusqueña beer pouring out of the clouds and rocotto sauce rivers all around. There are 40 stands to check out, cooking demonstrations and kid fun. If you’re in town, check it out. If not I’ll let ya know how it went. ¡Viva Perú!

Don’t forget, Parque Bustamante – and many other outdoor spaces – will be jam-packed with food, theater, eco-fairs and other activities throughout the summer, so check the calendars for each comuna or read the banners tacked to the poles about town.

Lastly, the 2013 6th annual Movilh hosted LGBT international film festival [Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual] has begun and continues until October 30th at a number of locations. For programming go here. Oh, it’s totally free, too. Amazing.

La Vega Central, Tirso Molina and Mercado Central; Santiago Triple Threat [Food, that is]


Mention has been made many times on this blog that La Vega Central Market in Santiago is a delight, and it seems I’m not the only one who thinks so. The website The Daily Meal [which I’ve not heard of ‘til now; I may have a new addiction] just ranked it 4th out of fifty for best food markets around the world. I highly doubt it’s as clean or shiny as some of the others on the list, but it sure is colorful in every sense of the word. You can find all manner of produce, meats and dairy, Peruvian specialties, tea, dried fruits, nuts and legumes and more. And the people! Characters abound. There are also many little lunch spots where you can grab a good meal for very little money. It’s loud, smelly and always entertaining. Indeed, the options can be almost overwhelming. The realist in me wants to remind you not to walk around there with fistfuls of cash or fancy phones.

God is first; La Vega is second.

God is first; La Vega is second.

La Vega is laid out here in this little chart. You can see its location here on the Transantiago city map. Look toward the red section in the top, middle part of the map near Independencia and Recoleta. It is simply marked La Vega in between the metro stations Cal y Canto and Patronato on the yellow line. If you get off the train at Cal y Canto it’s just a few blocks north. Anybody hanging around will be able to point you in the right direction if you lose your bearings.

Tirso Molina Cheese Shop

Tirso Molina Cheese Shop

If you head directly south of La Vega, you will see the Tirso Molina. This is a newer, smaller market, which stands out by its metal rooftop laced with intentional holes. The first floor here boasts a good amount of perfect produce, cheeses, charcuterie and a lot of fresh juice stands. The second floor is another lunch spot with a variety of options. It seems the prices here are maybe a touch higher than La Vega, but everything I’ve had up there so far has been quite taste-tastic. There is a bevy of ladies at the top of the escalators, menus in hand shouting out the specials as they try to lead you to their restaurants. Aside from the typical Chilean fare (fried fish, porotos, cazuelas, humitas in the summer, empanadas etc.) there is a real abundance of Peruvian and seafood specialties, as well as a decent Mexican place that opened a year ago, but it’s closed on Wednesdays. Go figure. You can find coffee and dessert here also. Need a pair of jeans? They got those, too.

Red Curry

Red Curry

I just tried the new Thai place, called Luck Thai at stand #199. The ladies at work in the kitchen were delightful. The menu lists a dozen dishes, most of which are labeled “picante”. Remember that the Chilean palette doesn’t do a lot of heat, so if you like your food medium hot, that’s what you’ll get. If you want it mild just ask for it “a la chilena” or Chilean style. I could make a curry of equal quality in my house, but if you’re not in the mood to hunt up all the required spices, check this place out. Each dish is about seven bucks. You can order a juice from the shop next door and they’ll happily bring it over.


One more block south, you will find the Mercado Central. This is the place to go to get seafood so fresh it’s mooing. You know what I mean. They have everything that the Pacific provides for us and the fishmongers are such friendly folk. It’s essentially a block squared with the seafare on the outer ring. The inner square hosts a ridiculous number of restaurants offering up those very same fresh goods done in a variety of styles. There are always wandering minstrels. Between La Vega, Tirso Molina and the Mercado Central you will find something that makes your mouth sing and your belly smile, with plenty of stuff to go.