Last night marked the second anniversary of the fire at a concert in the RepÃºblica Cromagnon nightclub that killed 194 people.
Taped to the barricade in front of Casa Rosada were reminders of the lives that were lost that night. The depth of the tragedy is apparent in the ages of the victims shown just in this photo: 28, 24, 20, 19, 14, 13.
Politics aside, I still have a lot of compassion for the families and friends of those who perished. The anniversary of a person’s death is always difficult. The end of December will always be hard for these families. Unfortunately, they will never again have a truly happy new year.
When I arrived at the remembrance late yesterday in Plaza de Mayo the families were in the Cathedral for a memorial mass. Stretched across the road in front of the Cathedral was a banner with more photos of those who died.
After the mass a few speeches were given in the center of the Plaza. A lot of anger stemming from their grief has been directed at the city government for failing to enforce the code violations at the club. Yesterday, before the speeches in the Plaza started, a dozen police in riot geared lined up in front of the Palacio Municipal. But, during the speech, the police officials made a change and quickly replaced the riot squad with half-a-dozen regularly uniformed policemen. It was an appropriate decision. While there were a couple of left-wing political groups in the plaza, there were none of the hardlined piquetero groups. Nobody had their faces covered or carried large sticks as in so many marches.
People simply carried signs or banners with images of their loved ones as they marched down Av de Mayo on their way towards the location of the fire in the neighborhood of Once.
During the speeches I noticed a few girls take a seat on the curb in front of the Cabildo. Two of them carried signs with the photo and a name of a friend that died in Cromagnon. One girl said something to another and then both girls carefully turned their signs so that their friend’s photo faced inward. I didn’t understand at first, but then I realized….you’re 20 years old, how hard it must be to sit there and look at the photo of your dead friend.