BUENOS AIRES – Relatives of the victims of a commuter train crash at a Buenos Aires station six years ago, one of the worst rail tragedies in Argentine history, demanded justice on Thursday for the 51 people killed and 700 injured.
People injured in the rush-hour accident; relatives of the dead, including a pregnant woman; and members of social and human rights organizations observed a moment of silence while sirens sounded at 8.32 am, the precise time when a train carrying more than 1,000 people slammed into the platform at the Once station in Buenos Aires’ Balvanera neighborhood on Feb. 22, 2012.
Maria Lujan Rey, the mother of one of the victims of the Sarmiento line crash, Lucas Menghini, said the rail disaster was one of the most painful events in the country’s history.
“Today we’ve come to reaffirm with the same conviction that the pain gives way to an unwavering fight to see those guilty of this carnage behind bars,” she added.
In December 2015, two former transportation secretaries – Ricardo Jaime and Juan Pablo Schiavi – were convicted of their role in the crash and sentenced to six and eight years in prison, respectively, although they have appealed those verdicts.
Schiavi is free pending the outcome of his appeal.
Jaime is behind bars in a separate case, as is former Planning Minister Julio de Vido, who is currently on trial over the so-called Once Tragedy.
Several executives of Trenes de Buenos Aires, a private rail operator whose concessions to operate the Sarmiento and Mitre lines were revoked in May 2012, and the driver of the train, Marcos Cordoba, also received prison sentences but are free pending resolution of their appeals.
De Vido, who served as planning minister under the 2003-2007 presidency of Nestor Kirchner and the 2007-2015 presidency of Cristina Fernandez, is currently on trial on charges including criminal negligence related to the crash.
Rey said Thursday that the corruption that plagued De Vido’s portfolio led to the deadliest rail disaster in recent years.