Translated from T21MX by Osiel Cruz
T21MX is a Mexican trade publication covering the Mexican trucking industry. Oriel Cruz is the General Director of the publication as well as a columnist covering trade and transport topics.
Sr. Cruz column which I’m translating free style should outrage each and everyone of us, whether we be U.S or Canadian truckers. The Mexican truckers are used to this type of treatment by the authorities. We as American truckers receive the same type of treatment in certain situations albeit in a more discreet and sugar coated form. What follows is Sr. Cruz’s very relevant comments and his outrage at the actions of the Attorney General for the State of Mexico. For those that don’t know, the State of Mexico is on of Mexico’s 31 states in which the “Distrito Federal” or D.F. resides. The D.F. is equal to our District of Columbia or D.C.
Even though the driver of the Temogas tanker that exploded last Tuesday has not recovered from his injuries sufficiently to give a statement to authorities as to what caused the accident, Juan Omar Diaz Olivares, found guilty by the Attorney General of the State of Mexico, Miguel Angel Contreras Nieto.
When is this government going to leave behind the third world practice of our court system to declare everyone guilty until they prove their innocence, unlike that in the first world where everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty?
The driver has not been tried, yet our own Attorney General without any reasonable evidence, and using generalities to pass the blame for the deaths of 24 people and injuries to 36 on to the driver saying that “reckless maneuvers were performed (what?) that led him to lose control of the unit.”
Has not anyone told the Attorney General that he cannot go and make such accusations without proof?
Nieto Contreras does a disservice to the Governor of the State of Mexico Eruviel Avila when he accuses Olvares Diaz of criminal responsibility for this unfortunate incident, because to accuse someone you must have reasonable evidence.
You say without proof that “experts in the field of land transport concluded (What type of claims?) and conclude in “general terms”(We want details, not generalities) that the tanker driver failed to observe traffic rules (what rules did he fail to observe?) was driving recklessly (based on what criteria?) and performed maneuvers that were not correct (What maneuvers Mr. Attorney Generall?) or for the takner vehicle he was driving, or to the conditions of the highway (What conditions?}
It is typical of our incompetent authorities not to punish those truly responsible for tragedies such as these but to pass the blame to someone lower, with less or no influence.
The prosecutor tries without proof to point the finger of guilt at the driver and state that the compensation to victims of the tragedy rests sole on the shoulders of the driver and no one else. Comfortably, authorities with Secretariat (Ministry) of Communications and Transportation (SCT ) stand buy and watch as the last government of Felipe Calderon decided to the highway to abut homes, gas stations, warehouses and industrial plants unaware of the dangers it presented.
And what about the laxity with which these motor carriers are inspected on the roadways? Why is not these materials restricted to transport via train or pipeline exclusively?
Authorities of the State of Mexico and neighboring municipalities hold similar responsibility for not relocating the people who live in the danger zone close to the Mexico-Pachuca highway. What was said about the Civil Protection authorities and the human settlements after the 1984 explosions in San Juanico that killed 600 people or in 1996 that claimed two more lives, that have not closed tank farms owned by PEMEX and situated in highly populated areas?
I understand that the gas storage facilities came first, before the city, but there it is again, for the authorities to be criminally responsible for authorizing human settlements in an area of danger. They also need to be punished.
It is no longer possible for us to go on as a country without (urban) planning but do we need events such as this before authorities take action as was demonstrated last week by Minister of Communications of the State of Mexico, Apolinar Mena Vargas who announced last Friday that he was going to asses the houses at risk close to the Mexico-Pachuca highway and what needed to be done to minimize the risk.Why was that not done before? Where were the official then to do this work? Apolinar came into office in September 2011 with the current Governor, and while his predecessors did not act, why did he not?
That is part of the solution that should have taken place before this accident happened. But this is only part of the whole and not just with the driver Juan Diaz Olivares who we first need to listen to, get his statement and judge his actions based on evidence and not on platitudes. The victims require nothing less of us when judging who is responsible.
END OF TRANSLATION
All I can say is “WOW”! Because Cruz presents the same sentiments I did in an article posted yesterday before Sr. Cruz submitted his.
In our industry, and it doesn’t matter in which country you live and work in, people are quick to point the blame at the trucker, while ignoring a deeper root cause which can most times be traced back to management of a company, outdated or unreasonable rules and regulations forced upon truckers by their respective governments and a host of other reasons. The man behind the wheel is the fall. guy. That’s not to say though that the trucker is always innocent. Far from it, but the point is, we’re guilty until proven innocent. And in the case of Juan Diaz Olivares, when he recovers enough from his injuries, he will be transferred to a state prison in Ecatepec to begin serving his sentence. Not a sentence handed down by a Judge or other legal authority, but he’ll be incarcerated without bail until a Judge decides his case and imposes a traditional sentence. And in a case such as this with a tremendous loss of life and property, 30 years would probably be assessed.
This post is part of the following threads: Mexico Trucking, Termogas Tragedy – ongoing stories on this site. View the thread timelines for more context on this post.