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Venezuelan LGBT Advocate Murdered in Caracas

Venezuelan LGBT Advocate Murdered in Caracas

Venezuela

Givineth Soto was a psychologist, LGBT advocate, mother, and wife. Her widow won't be recognized as such by the government.

One of Latin America's most prominent LGBT rights advocates was murdered Sunday in an apparent car theft in Caracas, reports the Washington Blade.

The Blade picked up the story of Giniveth "Gini" Soto's death from Sin Etiquetas, which describes itself as a news site for the Latin American LGBTIQ community. Sin Etiquetas called Soto's killing an assassination. She died after being struck by a heavy blow in the to the head, reports The Blade.

Soto, who was a psychologist by profession, had been working working as a taxi driver to earn extra money. Soto's wife, Migdelis Miranda Rondon, recently gave birth to a son. Soto had petitioned the government to recognize her marriage to Rondon, also a psychologist, as well as her parental rights as their child's mother.

Disillusionment with Venezuelan Government
The niece of a congressman, 32-year-old Soto was an ardent supporter of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and his far-left government. But in recent years, Soto had become disenchanted with the government's unwillingness to recognize the equality of LGBT Venezuelans, despite her and other loyal activists long-running efforts to secure those rights.

"Gini believed in this government, but this government neither believed in her [n]or respected her," the Blade quoted Tamara Adrian, a transgender lawyer and LGBT rights advocate in Caracas, reflecting on Soto's death.

Crime and Inequality
The murder occurred in the Bellas Artes neighborhood of Caracas. In recent years, the neighborhood has, like many others, fallen to higher crime rates. Business Week reported earlier this year that crime has soared to a rate of 39 murders per 100,000 people in Venezuela, with nearly 25,000 people killed last year in a country whose population is just under 30 million.

By comparison, the total number of homicides in the U.S., which has a population 10 times that of Venezuela, was 16,238 for the same year -- a ratio of 5.2 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But, as LGBT activists and journalists in both countries have commented since Soto's brutal murder, insult is added to unspeakable injury when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people are the victims of violent crimes.

"In this case they killed a mother who is not legally considered a mother," Adrian told the Blade. "They killed a wife that is not legally a wife."

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