Lesbian women set on fire in Argentina leaving three dead and one in critical condition

The national flag of the Argentine Republic
The national flag of the Argentine Republic (Image: Pixabay)

Three lesbian women have died and one more is in critical condition after an alleged hate crime in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A man threw a bottle bomb into the boarding house room of the two couples on 6 May, reports Human Rights Watch.

One of the woman, Pamela Fabiana Cobas, was severely burned and died almost immediately, says the non-profit and non-government organisation.

Cobas’s partner, Mercedes Roxana Figueroa, reportedly died of organ failure two days later, with burns covering 90% of her body. Andrea Amarante died in the hospital on 12 May, as per local media.

Police arrested a 62-year-old male suspect but have not announced a motive for the attack.

As per The Guardian, Justo Fernando Barrientos allegedly fought the women to stop them escaping the flames, before escaping to the roof and attempting suicide. He was later arrested.

“Climate of violence”

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Argentina has been legal sing 1887. However, a series of anti-LGBTQ public statements by politicians is believed to be contributing to increased anti-LGBTQ sentiment in society.

For example, on May 2023, President Javier Milei said in a TV interview that education on gender and sexuality seeks to “exterminate the population” and causes “the destruction of the most important social nucleus within society … the family.”

Speaking to the Washington Blade after the attack, Congressman Esteban Paulón said: “We are in a rather complex context, where from the apex of power, the president himself and his advisors and downwards permanently instil a hate speech, instilling it when they close the [National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism or INADI], stigmatising the population that is there and the vulnerable groups. All this is generating a climate of violence.”

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