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Three LGBTI Activists Killed in Mexico

Three well-known LGBTI rights advocates in the Mexican state of Guerrero were killed over the weekend. Authorities on Sunday found the bodies of Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega and Carlos Uriel L√≥pez in Taxco, a city between the state capital of Chilpancingo and Mexico City that is popular with tourists.
Estrada, 35, was the main organizer of Taxco's annual Pride march and a local gay beauty contest. Vega and López, who was his partner, were also activists.
Gaby Soberanis, president of Diversidad Guerrero, an LGBTI advocacy group that is based in the resort city of Acapulco, on Monday told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview that Estrada, Vega and López were at a local nightclub early Sunday morning when a group of men tried to extort money from them.
Soberanis said Estrada, Vega and López refused to give them any money. She told the Blade the men returned, forcibly removed them from the nightclub and placed them into a van.
Authorities found their bodies a few hours later on a dirt road near the main highway between Mexico City and Acapulco. A local newspaper published a picture of one of the murdered activists who appeared to have been shot in the back of the head. Another local media report indicates Estrada, Vega and López had been tortured before they were killed.
"We are sad, depressed," Soberanis told the Blade. "They were young. They had a future ahead of them. The entire state's LGBTI rights movement is sad, is in mourning."
Other activists across Mexico also mourned their deaths.
"The loss is for a society that demands equality, freedom and an end to violence," said Lol Kin Casta√±eda, a lesbian activist who is a member of the Mexico City Constituent Assembly in a tweet that tagged Guerrero Gov. Héctor Astudillo. "We demand justice."


Local media reports say the manner in which Estrada, Vega and López were killed indicates they were victims of criminal gangs that operate throughout Guerrero.
"I don't know if it was a hate crime based on homophobia," Soberanis told the Blade.
The Blade has reached out to the Guerrero Ministry of Public Safety for comment. Violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains commonplace throughout Mexico. Drug cartels and criminal gangs that operate throughout Guerrero have made it one of the most violent states in the country. An advisory the State Department issued on March 16 urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Guerrero and the states of Colima, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas "due to crime."
A group of 43 college students known as "normalistas" disappeared in Iguala, a city that is roughly an hour south of Taxco in Guerrero, on Sept. 26, 2014.
Mexican authorities have accused former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife, Mar√≠a de los √Ångeles Pineda, of masterminding the kidnapping. The Associated Press reports Abarca allegedly ordered local police officers to turn the students over to members of a local criminal group who killed them.
The election to choose the successor to President Enrique Peña Nieto, who cannot run for a second term under the Mexican constitution, will take place on July 1. Violence and corruption are among the top issues for Mexican voters.

Tres conocidos activistas LGBTI asesinados en Guerrero
Tres conocidos activistas LGBTI en el estado mexicano de Guerrero fueron asesinados durante el fin de semana.
Autoridades el domingo descubrieron los cadáveres de Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega y Carlos Uriel L√≥pez en Taxco, una ciudad entre la capital estatal de Chilpancingo y la Ciudad de México que es popular con turistas.
Estrada, 35, era el principal organizador de la marcha anual del Orgullo de Taxco y un concurso de belleza gay local. Vega y L√≥pez, quién era su pareja, también eran activistas.
Gaby Soberanis, presidenta de Diversidad Guerrero, un grupo LGBTI basado en Acapulco, el lunes dijo al Washington Blade durante una entrevista que Estrada, Vega y López estaban a una discoteca local temprano el domingo por la mañana cuando un grupo de hombres trató de extorcionar el dinero de ellos.
Soberanis dijo que Estrada, Vega y López se negaron darles ningún dinero. Ella dijo al Blade que los hombres regresaron, los sacó por la fuerza de la discoteca y los pusieron en una camioneta.
Autoridades encontraron sus cadáveres unas horas después en un camino de terracer√≠a cerca de la carretera principal entre la Ciudad de México y Acapulco.
Un peri√≥dico local public√≥ una foto de uno de los activistas asesinados quién parec√≠a haber recibido un disparo en la parte posterior de la cabeza. Otro informe de la prensa local indica que Estrada, Vega y L√≥pez hab√≠an sido torturados antes de ser asesinados.
"Estamos tristes, deprimidos," Soberanis dijo al Blade. "Eran j√≥venes. Ten√≠an una carrera futura. Toda la diversidad en el estado está triste, está de luto."
Otros activistas en México también están de luto por sus muertes.
"La pérdida es para una sociedad que exige igualdad, libertad y fin a la violencia," dijo Lol Kin Casta√±eda, una activista lésbica quien es miembra de la Asamblea Constituyente de la Ciudad de México en un tweet al gobernador de Guerrero Héctor Astudillo. "Exigimos justicia."
Informes en la prensa local dicen que la manera en que Estrada, Vega y López fueron asesinados indica que son víctimas del crimen organizado.
"No sé si era un crimen de odio por hom√≥fobia," Soberanis dijo al Blade.
El Blade se ha comunicado con la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de Guerrero para comentar.
Violencia basada en la orientaci√≥n sexual y la identidad de género sigue ser com√∫n por México.
Los cárteles y grupos del crimen organizado que operan por Guerrero se lo ha hecho uno de los estados más violentos en el pa√≠s. Un aviso que el Departamento de Estado (EEUU) emiti√≥ el 16 de marzo insta a los ciudadanos estadounidenses de no viajar a Guerrero y los estados de Colima, Michoacán, Sinaloa y Tamaulipas.
Un grupo de 43 estudiantes conocidos como los ‚Äònormalistas' desaparecieron en Iguala, una ciudad que está casi una hora al sur de Taxco en Guerrero, el 26 de septiembre de 2014.
Autoridades mexicanas han acusado al exalcalde de Iguala José Luis Abarca y su esposa, Mar√≠a de los √Ångeles Pineda, de orquestar el secuestro. El Associated Press reporta Abarca supuestamente orden√≥ a agentes de la polic√≠a local de entregar a los estudiantes a miembros de un grupo criminal quién los mataron.
La elecci√≥n para elegir el sucesor del presidente Enrique Pe√±a Nieto, quién no puede postularse para un segundo mandato bajo de la constituci√≥n mexicana, se celebrará el 1 de julio. La violencia y la corrupci√≥n están entre las principales preocupaciones para los votantes mexicanos.

 

 

This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.

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