Showing posts with label Columbia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbia. Show all posts

July 7, 2018

Colombia Murder Rates for LGBT Unchanged! Police, Paramilitary Are Also The Perps

[By Anastasia Moloney]            
BOGOTA, July 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Colombia has made no progress in stopping killings of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, campaigners said, as new research showed more than 100 were killed last year despite an overall fall in the murder rate.

 Colombia's murder rate fell to its lowest level in four decades last year, according to government figures, but the number of LGBT people killed has not dropped.
There were 109 reported murders of LGBT people last year and 108 in 2016, according to a report by rights group Colombia Diversa. Most victims were gay men or transgender women.
"Despite advances made in recognizing (LGBT) rights, the peace process, and the general decrease in homicides in the country, violence against LGBT people does not show a similar reduction," said the report, published this week.
The president's adviser on human rights, Paula Gaviria, said Colombia was committed to protecting LGBT people.
"The murders of LGBTI people pain us," Gaviria said. "We need that violence stops being what defines us as a country. Nothing can and should be above the respect for life."
Marcela Sanchez, head of Colombia Diversa, said that while more state prosecutors had been trained in LGBT rights and appointed to investigate hate crimes and murders, most still went unpunished.
"This hasn't translated into better investigations and sentencing," Sanchez told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Colombia has made important gains on gay rights since 2015, allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, but campaigners say that could be put to the test when the new right-wing government of Ivan Duque takes over in August.
During his election campaign, president-elect Duque told local media he had "great respect" for the LGBT community.
But his government is backed by conservative and evangelical groups that view homosexual acts as a sin and are gaining influence in the country.
Some of the tens of thousands who took to the streets for a nationwide LGBT pride march last week held banners saying "Not a step backward".
"We have marriage equality and other rights, but now we need to protect them because the conservative movement is strong and is very well connected to the presidency," said Mauricio Albarracin, an LGBT activist.
(Reporting by Anastasia Moloney @anastasiabogota, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit

July 5, 2017

Gay Polygamy Acceptance in Columbia When It Recognizes The Relationship of 3 Men

Alejandro Rodriguez, Manuel Bermudez, and Victor Hugo Prada are a Colombian “triple” who have just become the first three men in Colombia to have a legally recognized polyamorous relationship.

The Guardian reports that their relationship will not technically be considered a marriage, which can only be between two people under Colombian law. In documents it’s being called “a special patrimonial union,” but recognizes that they are a legal family and partners.

The throuple may be the only legally recognized gay male threesome in the world, though there is a history of symbolic commitment ceremonies for threesomes, such as a trio of gay men who married in Thailand. Their union was not recognized by the Thai government, nor was the marriage of three women in a lesbian throuple in Massachusetts.

Bermudez and Rodriguez were the first gay male couple to receive formal legal recognition of their partnership in 2000, 16 years before the country made same-sex marriage legal. For eight years, they had a polyamorous relationship with a man named Alex Esneider Zabala, who passed away three years ago from stomach cancer. Prada had joined the threesome as a fourth the year before Zabala died. 
The men say they had planned to celebrate their union as a foursome before Zabala’s death, though not through a legal document. The difficulty of being recognized as Zabala’s partners as he was sick and following his death pushed them to take the further step of getting it in writing. The men had their lawyer, Germ√°n Rincon-Perfetti (who helped Bermudez and Rodriguez with their union in 2000) draw up papers, which were signed by a notary in Medell√≠n last month. Conservatives have responded to the reporting of a “three way marriage” with a call for an investigation into that notary.

Prada, who is the youngest of the three, wants to make the ceremony as special as possible. He’d like to have three dance troupes giving away each groom, symbolizing the elements of earth, water, and fire, with air represented for Zabala’s space within the ceremony.

“We want to make what’s intimate, public,” he said. “We have no reason to hide it. We are just helping people realize that there are different types of love and different types of family.”

Aimée Lutkin@alutkin
Contributing writer at Jezebel.

May 4, 2017

Not Easy Being Poor and Gay in Columbia

This article was originally published on VICE Colombia.

"To the dance floor, please!" the soldier told Gustavo.*

It was a rather strange request—the bar was empty; the woman tending it was doing math on a notepad while biting her pen. Gustavo had arrived early to reserve a good table for his friends.

The bar was in a small village in Colombia's Antioquia Province. While the village itself is very spread out—as big as two football stadiums combined—the town center, where the bar was located, is no bigger than six blocks long and two blocks wide. The total population is less than 2,500. Gustavo tells me now that it was normal to become a regular at the only nightclub; in the main square, there are only two taverns, where old men go to play pool.

The soldier was a "manly man" merely out drinking, Gustavo says, with no gun on him and no superiors present. Encouraged by the fictitious power of his uniform, he asked Gustavo, one of the most visible and publicly known gay guys in town, to accompany him out on the dance floor.
At first, it seemed like a fantasy. In a small Colombian village like this, every family has a gay member, many of whom have their first escapades while still in the closet. The soldier could merely be exploring.

"Get on the dance floor," he continued. "I have to search you, faggot."

All fantasy evaporated when he used that word, with that tone. Gustavo tells me that the soldier asked him to turn around and spread his legs. He started frisking him—Gustavo, who was at the nightclub so frequently that he'd basically become part of the furniture. The woman behind the bar knew something was off, but she couldn't see clearly between the curtains that separated the tables and the dance floor. The soldier's request turned into an order after Gustavo asked why he was being searched. "This faggot!" he replied, as he began patting him down angrily.

"I became very nervous," Gustavo says. We're sipping on rum in a caf√© in front of the village's only church, just across the street from where it all happened. "Obviously I had to let him do it, and that's the hardest part. I felt powerless. I couldn't go home and talk about it—I just had to lay low after and remain silent."

"That son of a bitch!" he continues. "When men do that, it's because…"

He doesn't know how to finish that sentence. If heterosexual men say they don't understand women, then we gay men really don't know what to say about straight men in Colombia—with their wanton violence, rough games, football, boxing, locker rooms, and drunken nights, often with a fondling hand under the table.

"They end up giving in," he says, as the ears of people sitting nearby perk up.

I'm in my father's hometown for Easter; the rest of the village is out commemorating Jesus's crucifixion at mass. But as a gay urbanite, I wanted to know what it was like to be gay and out in a tiny village—so I'm chatting with Gustavo.

"They have a bit of liquor and they get uninhibited," Gustavo continues. "Then they start to break, and start looking for you. At the beginning of the party they get distracted and forget, but late at night, they ask you where to go."

These "straight" men, under cover of alcohol, aren't always so straight. "And we have to sneak into the alleyways," he says. "We have to run and get muddy, and then I come home a complete mess."

Gustavo says that once, many years ago, he hooked up with the owner of the same bar where he was frisked. Gustavo is 40 now, but he was quite young when the owner started hitting on him.

"I would come [to the bar], buy something, and he would touch my hand. He was really nice to me, and I've always liked older guys," Gustavo says. "One day—I don't remember how—he dragged me [outside] and we made out. I said to myself, I need to make this happen.' Then, another day, his wife wasn't home and I went [back] with him. Afterwards, he pretended he didn't know me. Sometimes I would stay out until really late hoping it would happen again."

"Did his wife find out?" I ask.
"Not with me, but she did with others," he says. "I ended up befriending her, but only after he got involved with another young guy here. I got really angry, because she cried and felt really bad. She told me, if it had been a woman—but a man… and such a young guy…"

"Apparently he and the young guy were in love, and it became very public here," he says. "So they got a divorce and she left. He stayed in town, but the pressure was difficult, and eventually he also had to leave after [living] here his entire life. It's the gossip, the looks from ladies in the town, the priest… all of that matters."

Gossip is something we gay Colombian men have to carry with us throughout our entire lives. It stabs you every time someone makes a little joke or laughs in your direction. That's why, in order to fuck in peace, there's sometimes no alternative beyond going into the woods, where nobody can watch, listen or judge. There are no moral prejudices in the woods. The Colombian countryside—while at times a hostile, lonely place for a gay man—can also make for quite a nice, open field to gay it up.

When he was younger, Gustavo remembers, he and his classmates would take school field trips to swim in the river, where guys had circle jerk sessions and fondled each other underwater.

"Sometimes you don't see them as being macho, since they allow so much to happen," he says. "That happens a lot in these small towns, where all the boys play rough games like football and tease you because you don't have the skills to play or because of your mannerisms. That's when I thought— when I finish school here, I'll leave in search of a new world and other things."

When he was 19, Gustavo went to study at a technical school in Medell√≠n, Colombia's second largest city. Heading there from the mountains of Antioquia was like moving from rural Arkansas to San Francisco. He went out to the gay dive bars downtown—"Underwear Street," as it's known to locals, for its racy window displays—and he was actually scared. Gustavo, who stuck to drinking, saw people snorting coke and smoking weed there, and felt it was a lot to handle. 

"Every weekend we would go to a new place, and I had such a small town mentality. A whole new world opened up for me in Medellín," Gustavo says. "I wouldn't drink that much because I was too busy observing. I'd never seen men kiss or dance together before. It took a long time before I could dance with another guy. I took it slow, and I was careful. But yes, what many of us want is to go wild in the city."

Gustavo has since left Medellín; he now manages businesses in other small towns, and only returns to Antioquia to visit, where he'll hang out with former girlfriends and other friends. He says some ladies in town have given him a bad reputation, accusing him of being a pervert, partying too much. He believes there issue is that he's a proud gay man, rather than some closeted sodomite who winds up married with children.

Right before we finish our last glass of rum, I ask him what it was like to be a gay man in a small town. He says it depends—it's one thing to be closeted and another to be a gay man who left, succeeded, and made money. Just like one of his friends who moved to Europe. Every time they visit, they team up and take over the town.

"The first time he came he just flaunted his money and his sexuality," Gustavo says. "Every guy who got in his car threw themselves at us. And I told him, ‘My God, I thought everyone in this town was straight—what I didn’t have was money.'" 

"If people in this town see that you have nothing, they'll just look at you like any other fag—let's be clear about that," he continues. "But if they introduce you as the mayor's cousin, the director of a company or something like that… their faces start to change, they tell you sit here, let me get you a drink. First people notice our sexuality, but when they know you're successful, they'll even ask for your number. The change is obvious."

*Gustavo’s name, as well as identifying details of the town have been changed to protect his privacy.

November 29, 2016

Brazil Soccer Team’s Plane Crashes in Columbia

 Brazil to Columbia, 76 dead

A chartered plane with Brazilian first division soccer team Chapecoense crashed near Medell√≠n while on its way to the finals of a regional tournament, killing 76 people, Colombian officials said. Five people survived. Poor weather conditions were reported at the time of the crash and rescue operations were suspended overnight due to heavy rain.

The chartered jet operated by LaMia was carrying Chapecoense, a soccer team which plays in Brazil's top division.

It crashed at around 10 p.m. ET on Monday while on its way from Santa Cruz in Bolivia to Medellin's international airport, which is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet.

May 2, 2016

Columbia Approves Gay Marriage

LGBT rights activist celebrate a Constitutional Court decision to give gay couples marriage rights, outside the Justice Palace in Bogota, Colombia.Image copyrightAP
Image captionLGBT activists celebrated in Bogota earlier this month after an appeal against gay marriage was rejected
Colombia's top court has legalised same-sex marriage, making the country the fourth in Latin America to do so.
Gay couples were already allowed to form civil partnerships, but Thursday's ruling extends them the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.
Earlier this month the constitutional court dismissed a judge's petition against equal marriage rights for heterosexual and homosexual couples.
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have previously legalised same-sex marriage.
Argentina was the first Latin American country to take the step in July 2010

August 11, 2014

Venezuela Closes Border with Columbia Due to Smuggling

                                             (Smuggling out of Venezuela of Petrol and food)                                                

Venezuela says it will close its border with Colombia at night from Monday, to try to stop large-scale smuggling of petrol and food.
The government says that tonnes of goods - produced in Venezuela and heavily subsidised - are sold in Colombia at much higher prices.
The shortage of many staples in Venezuela's western border area this year led to anti-government protests.
The border closure was agreed with the Colombian government.
President Nicolas Maduro discussed the measures with his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, at a summit on 1 August.
The 2,200km-long (1,360 miles) border will be closed between 22:00 local time and 05:00 every night.
Cargo vehicles, including vans and lorries, will be banned from crossing from Venezuela to Colombia between 18:00 and 05:00.
'Failed policies'
The cross-border smuggling is also a problem for Colombia, with a big loss in taxes and complaints of unfair competition by local businessmen.
The profits are often used to finance drug gangs and left-wing guerrillas, says the BBC's Arturo Wallace in Bogota.
More than 40 million litres of petrol and 21,000 tonnes of food have been seized so far this year.
Nicolas Maduro (left) and Juan Manuel Santos (right), Cartagena 1 Aug 2014Mr Maduro (left) and Mr Santos (right) agreed on the measures at a summit in Colombia
A man reacts after he found all shelves empty at a bakery in Caracas on 14 January, 2014Shortages of basic staples such as bread have angered shoppers across Venezuela
Riot police stand by during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in San Cristobal on 28 March, 2014In the border city of San Cristobal, protesters and police clashed on a daily basis earlier this year
"They were ready to be smuggled across the border," said the head of the Venezuelan Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command, Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
"That amount of food is enough to feed 700,000 people for a month," he added.
Mr Maduro's left-wing government subsidises petrol and many food staples, such as milk, rice and pasta, which are sold at controlled prices.
But it says that up to 40% of the goods produced in Venezuela end up on the other side of the border.
Dissatisfaction with the shortage of many staples, as well as rampant crime and high inflation, led thousands of people in the western Venezuelan states of Tachira and Merida to take to the streets in January.
The protests quickly spread to the rest of Venezuela, which faced similar problems.
The opposition blames failed left-wing policies of the past 15 years - initiated with the late president, Hugo Chavez - for the country’s economic crisis.

October 2, 2013

Local Judges in Columbia Are Marrying Gays Against Higher Ups in Government

Claudia Zea y Elizabeth Castillo durante la ceremonia matrimonial del pasado mi√©rcoles. / Fotos: √ďscar P√©rez

The picture and report appeared in El Espectador in Columbia. Google translated it into English for me.


In the lobby of a modest hotel in the village of Gachet√° , a few hours of Bogota, listens to a question : " Does anyone have eye shadows ? " . All the women present dig into their wallets, but nobody takes makeup. " I have some , but not very good , I bought them for Halloween," Claudia Zea finally answer one of the brides , waiting patiently for the beautiful makeup . Elizabeth Castillo out of one room to kiss him and give Claudia a compliment.

They came to town last night and just are accompanied by the bridesmaids : Marcela Rojas and Adriana Gonzalez , another of couples on 20 June this year presented their papers at the local court for filing applications for marriage equality . Applications are randomly assigned to judges who have to interpret the law to decide whether or not the marriages celebrated . Adriana Marcela and are still waiting . For Elizabeth and Claudia " the judge recognized what it was and was declared incompetent " says the first . So again present in Gachet√° , the people of Elizabeth's father , the judge accepted the marriage application and were given an appointment for that Wednesday morning .

" We found out just last week." That explains it all so improvised . " This is a bet as activists. I had a very nice ceremony May 25 with our families and our children. " Claudia and Elizabeth have one son each, and are not present today as they have classes in college. Neither managed to get the rest of the family, because of the pressure of the ceremony and for a family emergency : Elizabeth 's grandmother died the day before, after a long illness. " This ceremony was in the botanical garden with all our friends . We exchanged our vows and made our commitment of love . We decided to do it before because we knew how it would be this, " says Claudia , adding: " Organizing a ceremony in a week is very difficult. “

" While we are in this situation , it's like Russian roulette , it is impossible to plan a ceremony, because you never know what will be the date and the judge may refuse at the last minute , or could the Attorney or Christians to try to interfere in our marriages . That is also why this ceremony was so secret , "says Elizabeth . Indeed , only present the bridesmaids , who also will witness four close friends , lawyers and Mauricio Manuel Paez Albarracin, who have accompanied the process , and Marcela Sanchez of Colombia Diversa , which says : " In the future, remember how we had to come through a wilderness , having to plan a strategy for every two people who love them legal status is recognized by the state. “

It is speculated that the first gay marriage in Colombia on Friday, September 20 at the Municipal Civil Court of Bogot√° 48 and during the week there have been other marriages in the country. To do so only requires a marriage registry office for terms of less than three months and Colombia Diversa recommended to those who want to get the link not sign " solemn contracts " in notaries, they do not create any rights and discriminatory. " There is no reason for the contract of the same sex is different than heterosexuals ," says Mauricio Albarracin . " You can also find more information on page “ .

Claudia and Elizabeth walk hand in hand towards the court and pass under a tent with the Mayor's motto : " Gachet√° itself progresses ." His companions waving rainbow flags in its path and then use them to decorate the halls of the courthouse. Presiding Judge hearing Gachet√° municipal promiscuous , Julio Gonzalez .
" Remain united in lawful civil marriage with all the privileges and all the civil rights that the law gives them and the same obligations imposed civil law , especially in Case C - 577 of 2011." Claudia Elizabeth and exchanged rings and " masters you " to the applause and laughter from everyone in the room . They go to sign the papers and take pictures in the window , with the church in the background. " Lodge in as in marriages ," says Elizabeth , while he realizes that there must be " as in" because this is indeed a marriage.

" I'm not doing any favor , no matter that I am a supporter of the LGBT movement or is of a liberal political group , such things should not influence a judge to act according to law and the Constitution ," said Judge Gonzalez . " A judge may make interpretation of the rules , though there are some gaps there are similarities and there are techniques that can be used . In this case , the analogy is not only taking into account rules of the Civil Code , but we already have a judgment of the Constitutional Court 's ruling fully explaining judicial officials in the event that there is no regulation unions legal for same-sex couples should apply the rules of the Civil Code . This is because the Court can not assume the role of new laws , and because Congress did not, the judges can interpret that according to the Constitution and the Civil Code can be practiced marriages “ .

But then , why some judges have practiced " solemn unions " , I ask . " You may be afraid of losing their jobs , but I think it's a theological question , because if so not even declare marriage as such. I do not think he's in any danger , I have exceeded my duties as a judge , I'm not committing even a disciplinary offense or a failure . “

Gonzalez has three specializations , constitutional law , civil and administrative proceedings , and a Master of contractual liability. " It is the obligation of the law change as societies evolve , and we can not stop covering fundamental rights of other families that are emerging , failing which the right has to be static . The law has to change, adapt and have to serve as many people and people provided it is based on principles of legality and justice “ .

Despite the controversy , even if Colombia were to lie down marriage equality , the unions made can not be dissolved . Aroldo Quiroz, exprocurador to defend the family children and adolescents between 2003 and 2008 and a professor of St. Thomas universities and the Andes, explains : " After practicing civil marriage only two options : divorce , you should ask either party , or nullity , which has nine grounds in the Civil Code : when one party is under 14 years , when there has been force against one spouse to enter the union , by relationship first or second degree kinship adoption or affinity , or the existence of a previous marriage effect. The law can not dissolve already formed civil status “ .

The newlyweds leave the court and directed to file the papers in the Registry of the people , which is a few meters , crossing the square. " We have to change your marital status, lest tomorrow I want to marry another woman ," he tells his wife Claudia kidding. While delivering papers , his friends , who tried but failed to bring serenade hire anyone in the village, put a song blaring in Los Panchos truck stereo : " Join your voice to my voice to shout that succeed that the world is tired , here we are the two without sacrificing or hide " . Elizabeth and Claudia look at each other with eyes veiled by tears of joy .
" Love nothing could separate us , we fight every misconception , the story and there is nothing to tell, succeed with the power of love “ .

* Philosopher and columnist for The Spectator .
Legal status of same-sex couples

 1. The unions of same-sex couples are recognized in Colombia as a family and are legally protected by the figure of marital union .

2 . Affiliate partner social security system in health and survivorship pensions .

3 . Sue criminally for food when the couple is unaware of the obligation of mutual support.

4. Having a heritage homestead .

5 . Receive family allowances for housing and services as a couple.

6. Being legal heir of the estate of his partner.

7 . Acquire Colombian nationality residence and if foreign adoption .

8. The same-sex couples must meet special requirements, additional or different from those that follow the same-sex couples .

El Espectador

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