March and blackout to remember victims of Buenos Aires worst train station accident
Relatives of the victims of Buenos Aires busiest railway station tragedy confirmed a demonstration at Plaza de Mayo for Friday to mark the first anniversary of the accident, February 22, 2012, and in which 51 people perished and over 700 were injured.
Likewise organized labour’s CGT announced it was joining the demonstration and invited all Argentines to participate in an hour long blackout in solidarity with the victims of the Once station tragedy.
At the press conference to announce the demonstration, Paolo Menghini Rey, the father of Lucas Menghini Rey, a fatal victim of the Sarmiento train line crash, emphasized that “for the government, the tragedy never existed, and is silenced methodically,” and called for “everyone to take part” in the act “without political and union partisanship.”
“For us it is very important to have reached the trial stage this year, and we also hope that the court will set a date to begin a date for debate this year,” Menghini Rey affirmed, referring to the inquiry in which Trains of Buenos Aires (TBA) businessmen, former public officials, and engine driver Marcos Antonio Córdoba have been indicted.
The victim’s father, a figurehead for the victims’ relatives, argued that “everything is proven” because “investigations have been absolutely comprehensive” in demonstrating the “lack of control, maintenance and squandering of funds with the railway system” given in concession to friends of the powerful.
The victims’ relatives also hit out at the Argentine Football Federation’s (AFA) “ambiguous” attitude with regard to the request to hold a minute’s silence in honour of those who perished during this weekend’s fixtures, and to come on to the pitch with River Plate players bearing a banner calling for justice.
“Last April, we were not allowed to stage ceremonies in any of the stadiums, despite having the collaboration of all the clubs but we did not receive AFA’s authorization. Tomorrow I will be communicated a response but the deputy president has already recognized that they did not discuss the issue at the last board meeting,” said Ángel Cerricchio, the father of Matías Cerricchio, another fatal victim.
President Cristina Fernández also remembered the victims of the Once train crash.
“I know that the loss of a loved one is irreparable and irrecoverable, but there is the Judiciary to determine responsibilities,” she said as she led a ceremony to launch new digital television channel DeporTV.
“We want to send a caring hug to the families of the Once tragedy victims,” the president said a day after relatives of the deceased in the train crash accused the Government of pretending the accident never happened. “Life doesn’t return; a warm hug to all of them.”
In a release the unions CGT said it was joining the Plaza de Mayo demonstration and called for a blackout from 20:00 to 21:00 hours in solidarity with the victims.
“The events of 22 February 2012 plunged into mourning the whole country and exposed the deficiencies of the national government in the planning and security of public transport”, said the release.
“The 51 victims and almost 800 injured can’t be forgotten by those who like to boast about human rights policies but at the same time try to hide the pain and the more than fair acknowledgement that the relatives of the victims of Once deserve”.
Finally the release says that a bill awarding compensations to the relatives of the victims will be presented in Congress by lawmakers supported by the unions.