Photo: Google

By MARK LORENZANA

A collision between two trains on Line 3 of the Metro Collective Transportation System (STC) in Mexico City on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 7, has left one person dead and at least 100 injured.

The accident is the fourth Mexico City Metro tragedy under Governor Claudia Sheinbaum’s administration, since she took over the leadership of the capital in 2018. A total of 29 people have died in these four accidents.

On March 10, 2020, a collision at the Tacubaya station on Line 1 left one dead and 41 injured. The deadliest, however, was the May 2021 collapse of a rail overpass on Line 12 that killed 26 people and injured 65. Also, in January of that year, a fire at an electronic substation of the Metro injured 30 people and killed one, a police officer.

At 9:16 a.m. on Saturday, two trains collided between the Potrero and La Raza stations of Line 3. Yaretzi Adriana Hernández, an art student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), was killed in the collision.

According to Guillermo Calderón, director of the STC, there was already a report of signaling problems between the Potrero and La Raza stations, the evening before the collision. Aside from an official report, there had likewise been complaints about the signaling in that section of Line 3. It is unclear why authorities of the STC failed to prevent the accident from happening, despite the prior report, and the complaints. Sheinbaum and Calderón on Sunday, Jan. 8, dismissed the deputy director of general operations of the STC, Alberto García Lucio. On the same day, Francisco Echavarri Hernández was appointed as García Lucio’s replacement.

Sheinbaum, in an interview with ForoTV, a broadcast news television channel owned by TelevisaUnivision, said her government is not shirking responsibility for the tragedy. It must be noted, however, that the Mexico City governor was away when the accident happened, as she was campaigning in Morelia, the municipal seat of the central Mexican state of Michoacán, “presenting the achievements of her administration in the capital.”

Michoacán Governor Alfredo Ramírez Bedolla provided Sheinbaum with a helicopter, so she could rush back to the capital when news of the accident broke out. Even so, it still reportedly took the Mexico City governor hours to locate the official specifically in charge of dealing with the complaints that had arisen regarding the signaling on Line 3, which was allegedly badly designed — and potentially ignored.

Sheinbaum has been under intense criticism for her early campaigning, ever since she announced her bid to run for the presidency as the standard bearer of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena).

The latest controversy involving Sheinbaum’s early campaigning was the complaint of possible electoral crimes filed before Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) by the political team of Mexican Foreign Relations (SRE) Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, another possible successor of López Obrador for the presidency of Mexico.

It has been obvious, although AMLO would deny it, that Sheinbaum has been the favored candidate as Morena’s standard bearer — more than Ebrard, and more than Senator Ricardo Monreal and Interior (Segob) Secretary Adán Augusto López Hernández, two other Morena candidates.

This most recent Metro tragedy, however — again, under Sheinbaum’s watch — could potentially dislodge the Mexico City governor as the favorite for Morena’s presidential candidacy.

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