Costa Rica’s LGBT community mourns death of leader

January 21, 2012

Renowned Costa Rican LGBT activist Abelardo Araya died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 42. He was found in his home on Thursday.

On Friday, family members, friends and LGBT activists held a funeral ceremony for the human rights leader in Alajuela, northwest of San José. Araya was diabetic and had cardiac disease, family members said.

Araya will be remembered for his work promoting gay rights in Costa Rica, including the founding of Movimiento Diversidad (Diversity Movement), a political movement aimed at furthering LGBT rights. In 2006, the group presented a same-sex civil-marriage bill in the Legislative Assembly. 

“We have lost a leader in the fight for human rights that are still not recognized by the Costa Rican government or society,” said former Broad Front Party lawmaker José Merino, who supported the 2006 bill. “He was a courageous man who was willing to face attacks because he knew the value of his work in the movement.” 

Merino described Araya as courageous, smart and humble. He said Araya had lived a life of poverty as was fully dedicated to the promotion of LGBT rights.

“Despite his young age, he had been a gay-rights activist for the past 25 years. He left us at a time when we are finally seeing a step forward with the gay marriage bill in Congress. We will have to take drastic measures to be able to replace him in the movement, since he became one of those people who make themselves irreplaceable,” Movimiento Diversidad lawyer Marco Castillo said.

Araya’s funeral was paid for by contributions from friends and supporters, who collected enough money for the service in less than 24 hours, a testament, they say, to Araya’s importance in the community.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Mexico opens border to women and children from migrant caravan
Honduras
718 views
Honduras
718 views

Mexico opens border to women and children from migrant caravan

AFP - October 20, 2018

Mexican authorities on Saturday allowed dozens of women and children from the Honduran migrant caravan to pass into its territory,…

Venezuela accuses Costa Rica of ‘subordination’ to U.S.
Costa Rica
1286 views
Costa Rica
1286 views

Venezuela accuses Costa Rica of ‘subordination’ to U.S.

AFP - October 20, 2018

Venezuela criticized Costa Rica this week for expressing support for several countries that have asked the International Criminal Court (ICC)…

Lifeguards call for help in Costa Rica: support their work in Osa
Changemakers
1746 views
Changemakers
1746 views

Lifeguards call for help in Costa Rica: support their work in Osa

Perry Gladstone - October 20, 2018

Over the last four years, the Lifeguards of Costa Ballena have performed 240 in-water rescues, administered first aid 100 times…