Date: Fri, 26 Jun 98 17:32:43 CDT
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Murders and bomb threats in El Salvador - Gays being targeted
Centr-Am News, XIV, 1, 20 June 1998
Considered Part of Organized Political Plan José Alexis Barrahona, a transvestite known as "Karla," was a leader in El Salvador's gay rights movement. On May 5 Karla died after being shot in the throat and thorax eight days earlier. According to a witness, someone picked up Karla in a car, then shot him twice, pushed him out of the car, and then ran over him. The killer reportedly presented himself at the hospital to be sure Karla had died, and stated that he planned on killing more transvestites. Karla, who was just seventeen, is only one of the seven gay victims killed over the past three months in the departments of San Salvador and Sonsonate, El Salvador. This series of attacks, which has also focused on sex workers, has left many people seriously injured as well. Despite specific testimonies from many witnesses, including detailed descriptions of assailants, there have been no significant criminal inquiries by authorities. Many NGOs working for human rights have denounced the violence and lack of official investigation. The organizations Entre Amigos and Flor de Piedra, both active in the Salvadoran gay rights movement, are leading the community with demands that the National Civilian Police (PNC) and state Judiciary undertake a thorough investigation of these attacks. Demands for investigation have only been received with more threats of violence. William Hernandez, Director of Entre Amigos, has received a personal threat over the phone and the office has received at least three bomb threats. Police officials claim that they are investigating this wave of targeted violence, but consider each case as an isolated incident. Spokesperson from the Institute of Human Rights of the University of Central America (IDHUCA), Camelia Cartagena, says that it is doubtful that the assaults are isolated incidents. She further asserts that the attacks and murders could very well be part of an "extermination policy" of "social cleansing" similar to those carried out during the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992. Express your solidarity to end these heinous and condoned crimes!! Demand that authorities investigate and punish those found guilty!!! TAKE ACTION!
Those struggling for human rights in El Salvador need your support. Call or write to the people below:
Call the US Ambassador to El Salvador, Rene Leon.
Contact the following people (in order of priority):
Armando Calderon Sol Presidente de la Republica
Ingeniero Rodrigo Avila Avilas
Send letters of support and solidarity to gay and human rights activists in El Salvador. Knowing that there is international concern and action gives strength to continue. (Letters can be sent to CISPES National Office; they will be forwarded to El Salvador.) Originated by:
COMMITTEE IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF EL SALVADOR
Weekly News Update on the Americas * Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012 * 212-674-9499 fax: 212-674-9139 http://home.earthlink.net/~dbwilson/wnuhome.html * firstname.lastname@example.org