José Roberto Díaz

José Roberto Díaz was 18 years old, he was a young activist of Trabajando Unidos por Huehuetenango, a stylist and originally from San Miguel Petapa municipality of the department of Guatemala. Since 2014 he lived in an area called “roja” (because of its violence), near the Ruinas de Zaculeu Archaeological Park in the department of Huehuetenango, 261 km from the capital city.

His neighbours found him dead in an alley and alerted the police. They found him on the morning of March 25, at 11:20. He lay in a field with grass, behind some sheds, in the area zone 4 of that town. According to the Public Ministry and National Civil Police, the alleged cause of José’s death was by stoning.

José was tortured and marked with a sharp weapon in his abdomen. The killers left written homophobic messages: “morro and maricón”. And he had the number 18 on his face, symbol of a gang that operates at the Central American level.

We fear for our lives”

José was a member of the grassroots community group “Trabajando Unidos por Huehuetenango”. One of his colleagues from the organization agreed to speak with Presentes but requested anonymity. “We have suffered enough. We know there are people who condemn homosexuality. There is a moralistic and religious society that is watching us. They are marking us out, watching to see who are the heads of the collective to send that symbolic message, as they did with the brands that they inflicted on Josecito. “

Threats have already arrived on the organization’s web page. “That this is not right, that it is not from God, that we do not respect morals. We fear for our life. We fear that they will damage our bodies, or our families, because we are visible people. We want to protect ourselves, so that the same does not happen to us. We are afraid”.

The collective said through a statement calling on the authorities to find those responsible. And they called through their social networks to stop hate speech. “We thank each of the organizations for the support and expressions of solidarity for the loss not only of a person, a friend and a fellow member of our organization. We call on society to stop promulgating hate speech with phrases of any kind. Why they are killing our comrades, friends, brothers, cousins, children. ” They also called on the media to repudiate some types of coverages, and ask journalists “to be transparent and true.”

Organizations and civil society groups expressed their condemnation of what they consider a wave of violence. According to the organization “National Network of Diversity” there have now been five murders so far this year against members of the LGBT community.

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Date of Killing:25/03/2019

Previous Threats:Yes

Gender component to killing:Killing preceded by identity-based verbal assault or harassment including threats

Organisation:“Trabajando Unidos por Huehuetenango”

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights, ESC Rights

Sector Detail:LGBTI

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).