Marcos Cruz Santana, a 40-year-old social activist, and leader of the LGBT community in the northeastern city of Itororo, Bahia, Brazil, was killed this week. His genitalia was mutilated according to authorities and police are still searching for the killer, or killers, and investigating the motive of the crime.
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Cruz Santana was the president of the Association of Partner Movements and Friends of Health and Human Rights of Gender Minorities. Beloved by the local community and referred to as “Marquinhos Tigrezza,” according to Pragmatismo Politico, he was also responsible for organizing the annual LGBT Parade in Itororo.
Marcelo Cerqueira, president of the Gay Group of Bahia, or GGB, said the murder of Cruz Santana “is the most concrete expression of homophobia” due to its butchering cruelty, which is typical of such crimes in Brazil.
Cerqueira solicited assistance from the Public Security Secretary of Bahia to help solve the case. He believes that three men participated in the crime, torturing and finally killing Cruz Santana.
“These crimes take place due to impunity. Once the assailants are detained they don't remain in jail for long.”
Congressman Rosemberg Pinto also solicited assistance from local authorities. “Marcos was well-beloved in Itororo.”
Earlier this year, the GGB released a report revealing that anti-LGBT crimes had increased in 10 Latin American countries, with Brazil heading the list with 958 killed in the past three years —half of them in 2017.
In 2016, 343 people were killed in crimes linked to their sexual or gender orientations, according to the GGB.
Brazil has one of the highest murder rates of members of the LBGT community in the world.