This article was originally published by Jorge Rocha on Aztec Reports, a sister publication.
A year after one of Mexico City’s busiest railroad overpasses collapsed on a street below, Mexican authorities are failing to bring justice to the victims and loved ones of the 26 people killed.
Metro line 12, or ‘the golden line’ as it was often called, collapsed on a busy street in the early morning hours of May 3, 2021, killing 26 people, injuring more than 100 others and affecting the mobility of millions of residents of Mexico City.
At the time, the Mexico City government announced that Norwegian risk consultancy DNV would conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the collapse. Their initial report, delivered on June 14, 2021, indicated that structural defects, present since the construction of the viaduct, had led to its collapse.
Today, the consulting firm delivered its final report to city officials. The city government rejected his findings and declined to release the report, saying there was a political conflict of interest stemming from the fact that a lawyer who worked on the report was involved in a previous lawsuit against Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a political ally of Mexico City Prime Minister Claudia Sheinbaum.
The Mexico City prosecutor’s office also found that the railroad’s design was prone to failure over time, and in October 2021 filed charges against 10 former officials involved in its construction, including wrongful death, undue injury and property damage.
Among the officials are Enrique Horcasitas, the director of Project Metro, as well as other Project Metro officials: Juan Antonio Giral y Mazón, Moises Guerrero Ponce, Héctor Rosas Troncoso, Enrique Baker Díaz, Guillermo Leornardo Alcazar Pancardo, Ricardo Pérez Ruiz, Juan Carlos Ramos Alvarado and Fernando Ramiro Lalana, according to Animal Policy.
Fernando Amezcua Ordaz, the legal representative of construction companies LYTSA, IACSA and EINSA, was also prosecuted.
To date, authorities have not initiated any legal proceedings in the case, with a first hearing scheduled for next month.
In addition, the capital’s government revealed that 90% of those affected by the collapse had accepted a settlement agreement that included economic reparations, scholarships and job opportunities.
According to Ernesto Alvarado Ruiz, the official overseeing the disbursement of funds related to the settlement, different state entities have distributed the following funds:
- $147,000 to the families of the Mexico City Attorney’s Office
- $152,000 to the families of the Executive Commission for the Attention of Victims (CEAVI)
- $221,000 to 129 Metro Transit System (STC Metro) families
In addition, Mr. Alvarado Ruiz said that the National System for the Integral Development of Families (DIF) has designated 251 scholarships for the children concerned.
Yesterday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador shared his solidarity with the victims and said metro line 12 is already being rebuilt with Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim, helping with the reconstruction.
Mr. Slim’s construction company, Carso Infraestructura y Construcción (CICSA), was one of the companies involved in the initial construction of Line 12 of the metro. During the investigation, his company issued a settlement agreement, paying hundreds of thousands of Mexican pesos to the victims. and their families in exchange for not taking legal action.
“[Mr. Slim] assumes full responsibility at no cost to the city government,” said Mr. López Obrador. “When it was suggested to him – regardless of the ongoing investigation to determine responsibilities [for the collapse] — that the reconstruction work should begin as soon as possible and be completed within a year, he agreed and became personally involved in the construction.