In a tragic turn of events, the family of Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean-American blogger, has reported his death while in a Ukrainian prison. The 55-year-old Lira, who used to live in Kharkiv and ran the popular YouTube channel ‘CoachRedPill,’ was arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in May 2022. He was accused of “discrediting” the Ukrainian leadership and military.
Lira’s father, Gonzalo Lira Sr., has publicly expressed his grief and anger over the death of his son. He blames both the Ukrainian and American governments for the tragic outcome. In a note published by The Grayzone, Lira Sr. stated, “The responsibility of this tragedy is the dictator Zelensky with the concurrence of a senile American President, Joe Biden.”
The family’s distress has been compounded by the alleged torture and extortion Lira endured during his time in prison. He was reportedly beaten and extorted for his savings, which amounted to around $100,000 when factoring in the confiscated computers and phones. Despite the intervention of X owner Elon Musk, who personally inquired about Lira’s case with both President Biden and President Zelensky, no resolution was reached.
Adding to the tragedy, Lira’s health deteriorated severely during his imprisonment. He suffered from pneumonia and a collapsed lung, which went untreated for months. The prison authorities only acknowledged the issue in late December 2022, and Lira was scheduled to undergo surgery.
The family’s frustration with the US Embassy’s lack of support is evident. Lira Sr. stated that the embassy only provided “empty bromides” and suggested that Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland had a personal dislike for Lira. In contrast, the Chilean Embassy in Kiev made an effort to assist him.
As the world mourns the loss of a passionate and outspoken journalist, the circumstances surrounding his death raise serious questions about the treatment of political prisoners and the role of international diplomacy in protecting the rights of their citizens.