Friday, January 28, 2011

Mexico: Families of children killed in fire seek justice

In June 2009 forty-nine children died in a fire that swept through the state-run ABC Nursery School in Hermosillo, Mexico. Though authorities charged seven regional officials with negligent homicide, parents of the victims believe that the government has been too slow to investigate the incident. This week some of the victims’ families took their complaints to Mexico City as part of a unique protest.

On Monday, twenty-three people related to children either killed or injured in the fire started a hunger strike in the main Zocalo Plaza of the Mexican capital. A statement from the protestors accused the Attorney General’s Office (PGR in Spanish) of being “unwilling” to punish those responsible for the fire. One of the demonstrators, who lost her three-year-old son in the blaze, underlined the impotence and suffering she and her comrades have faced:
“Justice would’ve been served had the government showed more sensitivity (to the victims’ families). This would not be happening in any other country but it’s hard to believe that this is occurring in a country where they took my son away,” (Juanita Luna) emphasized.
The hunger strike lasted roughly three days and was pulled after parents were able to reach a deal with representatives of the PGR. The deal, according to one of the protestors, is that the PGR agreed to move forward with the inquiry and send the case to an investigative judge by next week. In turn the demonstrators would return to Hermosillo though they warned that they would resume their hunger strike in Mexico City if the deal’s conditions weren’t met. Hopefully that won’t be necessary and justice can be served nineteen months after such a preventable tragedy.

Image- El Universal (Toys and photos serve as poignant reminders of the 49 killed and 100 injured in the June 2009 ABC nursery fire).
Online Sources- El Universal, Cronica, BBC News, The Guardian, El Economista,

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