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Three well-known Mexican LGBTQ activists — Rubén Estrada, Roberto Vega, and Carlos Uriel López (pictured above) — were found murdered this weekend in the city of Taxco, located in the south central state of Guerrero, Mexico. Estrada served as the lead organizer of a local Pride event and gay beauty pageant, and Vega and López were reportedly boyfriends. All three of the LGBTQ activists killed in Mexico were in their early 30s.
Gaby Soberanis — president of Diversidad Guerrero, an LGBTQ rights group in Acapulco — said all three men had attended a local nightclub into the early morning hours of Sunday when a group tried to rob them. Soberanis says that when the three refused to hand over any money, assailants returned to the nightclub later on, apprehended the three into a van and then drove off, dumping their bodies on a dirt road hours later.
Police say that all three of the LGBTQ activists killed in Mexico had been shot multiple times but were ultimately killed by being shot in the head. Police found nine-millimeter shells near their bodies.
Activists reportedly marched in the men’s memory today at 10 a.m., demanding police to find the perpetrators and to do more to protect the local LGBTQ community.
Soberanis says, “Here in Guerrero there is the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Homophobia, which was founded in 2013. But the folders are opened and the cases remain unpunished, many of them to date. … That is why we demand from the Guerrero authorities that these crimes be clarified. Enough of such insecurity. Enough of so much murder. And not just the LGBT population, but the population in general.”
It’s unclear whether the LGBTQ activists killed in Mexico were targeted for their sexual orientation. Nevertheless, political scientists Guillermo Trejo and Sandra Ley say violent crime in Mexico has reached a 20-year high, with politicians from different political parties unwilling to band together and fight organized crime syndicates.
Previously the non-governmental organization Letra S reported over 202 LGBTQ murders in Mexico between 2014 and 2016. In only one-third of those cases were any suspects identified.