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Jun 6, 2016

Vanessa Champagne Paris Dead at Twenty-one

Vanessa Champagne Paris

Twenty-one-year-old transgender woman, Vanessa Champagne Paris, died over the weekend at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. Born Porfelio Rodriguez, he would assume the name and personality of a woman, Vanessa Champagne Paris, and go on to live a controversial life. Champagne’s death is equally shrouded in mystery and its cause is to be determined this Tuesday. Those close to Champagne say that since the death of his mother two weeks ago, he had grown restless and was contemplating suicide. News Five’s Isani Cayetano speaks to his father and a confidante.


Renee Lozano, Friend of Deceased

“He made a list of stuff that he wanted us to do for him for his funeral.  But he did it so many times over the years, you know, never thought that maybe we would have to come up and, you know, plan his funeral the way he wanted.”


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Is it a case of ghastly foreshadowing her own demise?  That’s a question that a close friend of Vanessa ‘Champagne’ Paris is asking herself today.  The transgender young lady, born Porfelio Rodriguez, died on Friday under mysterious circumstances.  She took ill after a brief visit to Belize City two days earlier.


Porfelio Rodriguez Sr.

Porfelio Rodriguez Sr., Father of Deceased

“He came the Thursday and when he came the Thursday he told me that, well it was in the night [that] he told me that he ate something, he bought something at the Dangriga [bus] terminal, some meat pies, and he wasn’t feeling good.  He never felt good after he ate those pies, so I told him go to the hospital.  He said, “No I’m going the next day, the Friday.”  When I came home ih  still neva gaan.”


It wasn’t until the following day that an attempt would be made to have him seek medical attention at the nearby polyclinic in Independence Village.


Reymundo Reyes

ASP Reymundo Reyes, O.C., Southern Intermediate Formation

“It was sometime around 12:15 p.m. that the father decided to come out within the village and try to locate a taxi so that he could ferry him to the hospital.  But upon his arrival at 12:30 p.m. he found Porfelio lying on the floor inside the house in a somewhat unconscious state.  Porfelio was immediately rushed to the polyclinic here in Independence.  He was treated and then transported to the Southern Regional Hospital on Dangriga where he was receiving treatment but passed away sometime around ten p.m. that same Friday night.”


So, did Vanessa ‘Champagne’ Paris take her own life by ingesting a toxic substance of some sort or did she die of food poisoning?  That will be determined on Tuesday when an autopsy is scheduled.  For many, the assumed name is synonymous with the LGBT community in Belize.


Isani Cayetano

“As a parent who has had a child who has a different sexual orientation, what was that like for you in terms of dealing with your son and him coming out and that sort of thing?”


Porfelio Rodriguez Jr.

Porfelio Rodriguez Sr.

“Well, I just tried to teach him what is right and I never tried to fight him or cause any harm to him.  I tried to treat him the best [way] I can.”


Isani Cayetano

“I’m certain there were also challenging times as well, in terms of either you accepting that particular lifestyle and dealing with that.”


Porfelio Rodriguez Sr.

“Well, I naturally never liked those kind of things but I will never try to harm anybody because of that.  I try to pray for them and help them to change their life.”


Renee Lozano

Those prayers seemingly helped Porfelio to become Vanessa ‘Champagne’ Paris, the physical transformation of a young man who chose to live his life as a flamboyant woman.  Sadly, things may have taken a turn for the worse when he lost his mother recently.


Renee Lozano

“He lost his mom about two weeks ago and he went there the same day that his mom died, he was there with me and he told me that if he lost his mom he wouldn’t know what would become of him, he would probably have to move out because his mother was the only one that supported him, you know, being the Porfelio, the person that he really wanted to be, Vanessa.”


Isani Cayetano

“Your son became prominent in the media a few years ago when he was stoned by a mob of people in Belize City because he was dressed as a woman and he was walking down Vernon Street.  I recall because I did the interview with him.  How did you deal with that kind of a situation seeing as though your son was being targeted for who he was?”


Porfelio Rodriguez Sr.

“I always try to help my son.  I give him sufficient money to go, to come back, to eat in Belize City, to pay taxi and everything so that nobody could harm him.”


While she may have only been physically attacked twice, at least by our records, she has always been a pariah.  When Champagne Paris was arrested and charged in July 2014 for the aggravated assault of Golda Orozco, she found herself in a peculiar situation, as authorities had to make a tough decision whether she should be placed in the male or female block of the Belize Central Prison.  In a sense, that situation preceded the quandary that the United States is presently dealing with where it concerns transgender persons and their use of public facilities. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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5 Responses for “Vanessa Champagne Paris Dead at Twenty-one”

  1. Mrs. P says:

    Rest in Peace. We never know if our children or grandchildren will have this type of sexual orientation. We should live our lives and leave everyone else live the life they choose to live. Who am I to judge?

  2. Steve says:

    Channel 5, you dedicated a 15 full minutes to this news clip. Are you following a pro-homosexuality agenda? Me? I’m a Christian.

  3. Belize says:

    9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to nor perform homosexual acts, 1 Cor. 6:9

  4. tashybze says:

    And what does this person life and were she will end up in the end have to do with any of you, that have hate in your heart which by the way is also in the bible. So I guess you will also NOT be allow into the kingdom of heaven. Each person will be judge upon their own acts in life, so tell what does this person life have to do with yours when you reach the gates of heaven.This is why the world is the way it is because too much hateful people for no damn reason.

  5. Rudy says:

    #$%^&*( christians the hypocrisy of religion is pathetic..everyone think they religion is the best .at the end of the day everyone pray to the same God..if there is a God..with all the bullshit that goes on ..things that make say ..hmmm

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