11 Years After Tragic ABC Daycare Fire, Fight For Justice Continues

Published: Friday, June 5, 2020 - 5:13pm
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Kendal Blust/KJZZ
Crosses for each of the 49 children who died in the fire at ABC Daycare on June 5, 2009, have been placed outside the building.
Paty Duarte
To commemorate the lives of the 49 children who died in the tragic ABC Daycare fire on June 5, 2009, families lit candles next to crosses for each of the victims outside the building on June 4, 2020.

Friday marked 11 years since a fire at a daycare in the Sonoran capital Hermosillo left 49 infants and toddlers dead and more than 100 others injured. But for the first time since the 2009 ABC Daycare fire, families of the victims didn’t take to the streets to mark the anniversary of the blaze that killed 25 girls and 24 boys and left dozens of others with lifelong injuries.

Instead, the families held commemorations online — lighting candles and speaking each of the children's names — in an effort to remember the children without risking the spread of the coronavirus.

But Julio Márquez, who lost his 2-year-old son ‘Yeye’ in the fire, said the families' daily struggle for justice hasn't been deterred.

"Today, 11 years since the fire, we still can't say with certainty that there will be justice," he said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December 2018, promised to finally take action on behalf of the children and their families. And his administration has taken steps toward meeting the victims' demands, including reopening an investigation into the fire and restoring health services to survivors and families of the victims.

Still, Márquez and others say justice will not be served until all those responsible are held accountable. Currently none of the 19 people convicted and sentenced for their part in the fire are in prison, as their case awaits a ruling by Mexico's Supreme Court. Victims' families hope that ruling will come soon, and in their favor.

"But even then, we won't say there's justice," Marquez said. "We are getting closer, but not everything the president has done is positive."

While he appreciates López Obrador's attention to their cause, he said, the president hasn't addressed core concerns, including the administration of promised restitution that has never materialized, and the implementation of better laws to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again in Mexico.

"It's clear that the president knows what we're asking for," Márquez said. "But he hasn't followed through."

Fronteras Sonora