Grieving Mexicans Demand Justice in Day Care Fire

AP Photo/Pepe Avila - Expreso

It has been over two weeks since a fire at a day care center killed 47 children in Hermosillo, and since then evidence has piled up suggesting a chain of negligence contributed to the blaze, The New York Times reports. The revelations have led to outrage and, thanks to the country’s rampant corruption, resignation.

Critics insist the day care center was a death trap, despite repeatedly passing safety inspections. There was one inspection, however, that the ABC day care center did not pass. In 2005, federal authorities ordered the owners to remove the tarpaulin that served as a ceiling, widen the main entrance and add more emergency exits with regulation fire doors. No changes were made. Then in a perplexing twist, a few months later, the same federal agency that ordered the changes renewed its contract with the center. And without having made the needed repairs, the center continued to pass inspections.

“In this country, we have a whole package of justifications not to follow the law,” said Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, a political analyst. “There is an idea that the law is an imposition from outside. By going outside the law, we find a kind of fraternity.”

Since the fire on June 5, bureaucrats and politicians have repeatedly promised investigations to root out those at fault. But many people suspect a more typical Mexican outcome: an endless investigation that will ultimately point fingers at many and hold no one responsible.

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