Ciudad Juárez (Mexico), Sep 27 (EFE).- Justice does not come as this Wednesday marks six months since the fire that killed 40 migrants in a Mexican Government center in Ciudad Juárez, where activists denounce that impunity persists despite that other countries consider the act “a state crime.”
Half a year after the fire at the National Migration Institute (INM) station, near the border with the United States, there are still dozens of burned shoes of the victims on the ground.
The place where four dozen migrants died and another 27 were injured still remains gloomy. The walls still have sooty hands painted on them, footprints of those who made it out alive, and the windows are smoked.
The migrants were “insured”, locked up by the federal government a few meters from the border with Texas, in front of the Municipal Presidency building of Ciudad Juárez and a few meters from the Paso del Norte international bridge.
Humanists told EFE this Wednesday that, although the Government authorized compensation to the families of the victims for 140 million pesos (about 8 million dollars), justice has not been done.
And they warned that the situation is getting worse for those who arrive in the new wave of migration because now they distrust even the shelters, because they fear being burned to death.
Ernesto Vasconcello, an immigration lawyer who experienced the case closely, expressed that “no compensation is enough” when it comes to lives and questioned the fact that Francisco Garduño, head of the INM, only faces a judicial charge.
While the local shelter coordinator Miguel Fierro criticized the fact that the federal official continues to lead the agency, as the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has defended.
The tragedy that marked the border
Rosa Mani, an activist from Abara, a binational organization focused on supporting migrants, lamented that “it has definitely been a tragedy that left its mark on the border.”
“Unfortunately, this situation has brought many consequences for us, (also) for migrants, who arrive in the city and now say they do not want to enter a shelter because they think they are going to burn it down,” said the rights defender.
The activist asserted that justice has not been done because there are still affected migrants waiting for the Government to respond to them for their injuries.
In addition, he commented that, while the directors are free, there are INM employees who are allegedly not related to the fire, but who are locked up without their trial being carried out quickly.
Pastor Miguel Ángel González, who presides over the network of 13 shelters “Somos Uno por Juárez,” agreed that after six months there is not much progress in the case.
“We believe that it is not the most correct in terms of justice, we see a high-level official giving his opinion regarding this immigration contingency as if nothing had happened,” he said regarding Garduño.
Mexico has promised reparations
The head of Immigration held a hearing last weekend, as he has requested that the criminal process for which he is held partially responsible for the tragedy be suspended.
“We have to present a comprehensive program to repair the damage to the victims and after it is presented we will request that hearing again (…) In this criminal case I am only accused of improper use of public service, not for what happened in the immigration station,” said Garduño as he left the hearing.
The official assured that they have already deposited 140 million pesos (8 million dollars) for the families of the migrants at a rate of 3.5 million (about 200,000 dollars) for each one.
He insisted that the injured will be discharged from the Mexican Social Security Institute for full repair of the damage, but argued that the distribution of resources is complicated because it involves the participation of medical experts and diplomatic corps.
“They did not die because they were foreigners, they died because they were poor, because they did not have 500 dollars to pay for the act of corruption, 500 dollars to be able to leave the INM, I saw many cases, they died because they did not have 500 dollars,” the lawyer commented on the matter. Vasconcello.
He denounced that both Mexico and the diplomats of the migrants’ countries of origin are complicating the compensation of the families.