Accident left at least 38 dead and 28 injured; Mexican Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard stated that ‘those directly responsible for the facts were presented’ to the Attorney General’s Office.
A video shared on social media shows the moment a fire breaks out at a migrant detention center in Mexico. At least 38 people died and another 28 were injured. Initially there were talks of 39 and 40 fatalities. In the recordings it is possible to analyze that the authorities made no effort to help the detainees. The accident happened on Monday night, the 27th, (early Tuesday, the 28th, in Brazil), in Ciudad Juárez, on the border with the United States. In a statement to the press, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had informed that the fire had to do with a protest that the migrants started after learning that they would be deported. “As a protest, they placed mattresses at the door of the shelter and set fire to them. They did not imagine that this would cause this terrible misfortune”, added López Obrador, confirming the number of mores. Images from security cameras shown by the Mexican press and whose authenticity was confirmed by the Mexican government show a group of people, apparently migrants, kicking a gate trying to open it while the fire spreads in the place where they are locked. At the same time, at least three uniformed migration agents circulate on the other side of the gate without making any visible maneuvers to assist them. Afterwards, the smoke invades the place.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter that “those directly responsible for the facts have been presented” to the Attorney General’s Office. He did not release names. The institute added that at the time of the fire, the detention center had one person from Colombia, one from Ecuador, 12 from El Salvador, 28 from Guatemala, 13 from Honduras and 13 from Venezuela. The INM did not announce the number of victims by nationality, but the government of Guatemala confirmed the deaths of 28 of its citizens. The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry also reported the death of one of its citizens. The tragedy generated many reactions of grief. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an “exhaustive investigation” into the event, said his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric. However, the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, considered it “a reminder of the risks of irregular migration” and the urgency of repairing a “broken immigration system”, according to a statement.
Today, 40 migrants (several Venezuelans) were burned in a detention center in Mexico. López Obrador blamed migrants for starting the fire. However, in this video it is seen how the guards are closed to the calcinándos migrants:pic.twitter.com/o9eZdkokhT
— Emmanuel Rincon (@EmmaRincon) March 28, 2023
Amnesty International said the fire “is a consequence of the restrictive and cruel migration policies shared by the governments of Mexico and the United States”. “How is it possible that the Mexican authorities left human beings locked up with no possibility of escape from the fire?” said Erika Guevara Rosas, director for the Americas at the organization, in a statement. A recent report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that, since 2014, around 4,400 migrants have died or disappeared on the 3,180-kilometer border between Mexico and the United States. US President Joe Biden has tightened immigration policy and forced migrants from Ukraine, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti to apply for asylum from transit countries, or through online consultations. The measures are being announced as the Democratic president is accused by the Republican opposition of losing control of the border, with more than 4.5 million undocumented people intercepted in the region since he took office.
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