Migrant center in Mexico, video shows officers leaving detainees to die in flames

A video released on social networks in Mexico, and relaunched by the media including the newspaper El Universal, shows that at least two agents of the National Migration Institute (INM) of Ciudad Juarez, a center near the border with the United States, left they went by keeping the exits blocked after a fire broke out. This behavior would have caused the important toll of 39 dead and 29 burned or injured. This would explain why the number of victims is equivalent to the total of 68 people, migrants from Central America and Venezuela, who were in custody. It also lets us understand why, therefore, in the confusion caused by the flames, none of them managed to save themselves outside.

Detained migrants set the fire in protest

The various sources agree on the fact that it was the migrants who started the protest, only that in the justification provided by the Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador it was mentioned that in deciding to start the fire, the group had used some mattresses placed close of the exit, which had prevented their escape and caused the massacre. However, the 32-second video shows how the migrants were inside the cells from where they began to demonstrate. Then flames and thick smoke rise from one of them, while someone tries in vain to open one of the blocked gates.

The outrage after the video was released

Following the spread of the video, many users re-shared the images on their social networks expressing their shock. Many indignant comments, for what is defined as a failure by the staff, and many who point the finger at one of the men in uniform who seems to ignore a migrant locked behind a barred door. Since the video has no audio, it is not possible to ascertain what was said when the fire started. It’s also unclear what uniformed staff do when they’re not on camera. Adán Augusto López, Mexico’s interior minister, did not deny the video’s provenance when asked by a Mexican journalist, but did not comment further. The video seems to confirm the story of the wife of a Venezuelan migrant who survived the fire.