Anti Discrimination Law Comes to Chile
Thursday last week was a big day for the Chilean people! After years of waiting, their government finally became one of the last Latin American nations to introduce an anti-discrimination law. The hate-crime bill has been around for years and was originally introduced by the former president Ricardo Lagos. However it had been tied up in congress for the last seven years, until Pinera signed it into law on Thursday.
Pressure had been put heavily on the conservative president Sebastian Pinera's government to do something after a young gay man was beaten to death in a shocking story that horrified the nation.
Daniel Zamudio a 24 year old was so viciously attacked in March this year in a Santiago park that he spent an agonizing twenty days bed-ridden in a public hospital before he died. Hw was allegedly attacked by a group of alleged neo-Nazis who beat him for over an hour, during which they burned him with cigarettes and sickeningly carved swastikas into the young mans skin.
Mega rich billionaire president Pinera has been slammed on social issues since he gained office back in 2010. His current approval rating is the lowest of any leader since the end of Pinochet's dictatorship in 1990.
Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela all have laws to combat discrimination and now Chile joins them with a law that sees people convicted of hate crimes face much harsher penalties.
Chile is one of Latin America's most richest countries, with huge wealth and prosperity yet remains a deeply conservative nation and heavily influenced by the Catholic Church. Which goes some way to explain why gay people face so much discrimination in the country. They warned against the law, whilst other churches campaigned against it, such is the nature of religious feeling in a country that only legalized divorce in 2004.