El Salvador Labels Lethal Juárez Fire as Massacre, State Crime

El Salvadorian Vice Minister of Diaspora and Human Mobility Cindy Mariella Portal. Photo: Google


Just days after El Salvador labeled the lethal fire in Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM) in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, as a “state crime,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took to his daily morning press conference on the morning of Monday, April 10, to express his agreement with El Salvador that Mexico must hold those responsible for the incident accountable for their crimes – all while avoiding speaking about his friend and INM director Francisco Garduño Yáñez, who many outside the federal government have pointed to as culpable for the facility fire that left 40 migrants dead in its wake.

El Salvador, who had seven of its citizens die in the deadly blaze, previously called for the dismissal of Garduño Yáñez in a scathing message to Mexico on Monday, April 4, with El Salvador’s Vice Minister of Diaspora and Human Mobility Cindy Mariella Portal characterizing the fire – and the INM facility guards’ choice to leave the migrants locked burning to death in their cells – as a “massacre.”

“We have enough morality to demand justice in the face of this massacre that the Mexican government has given our migrant compatriots,” said Portal at the time.

“We have demanded that the person responsible, the director of the INM, be dismissed,” continued Portal’s message. “And not only his removal, but also his prosecution for the crime. We have demanded that those responsible be sentenced to jail, and not only those who did not act in response to the emergency, but also those responsible for immigration policy, for up to now there has not been a Secretary of State who has been dismissed or prosecuted.”

“I consider that the first act of corruption is to accept a position for which we are not prepared,” concluded the El Salvadorian vice minister.

Exactly one week after El Salvador’s harsh message to Mexico, López Obrador addressed the Central American country’s concerns during his daily morning press conference on Monday, April 10.

“Well, the authorities of El Salvador, just like Guatemala, Colombia, and Venezuela, are right,” said AMLO at the time. “What happened is very unfortunate, they have to protect the lives of their fellow citizens.”

“We are in contact with the countries to help, and there is no impunity,” said AMLO, all while dancing around mentioning Garduño Yáñez or admitting the INM director’s responsibility in the incident. “There are already detainees, and the investigation that will punish those responsible for this tragedy has not concluded yet.” 

Still, despite El Salvador verbatim requesting the dismissal and prosecution of Garduño Yáñez for his role in the lethal fire and Mexico’s immigration policy, the INM director will continue to hold his leadership position at Mexico’s migration institute indefinitely.

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