Posts Tagged ‘Hogar Seguro’

The Guatemalan fire trials begin

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Today the New York Times remembers the horrific fire at Guatemala’s state-run group home, known as the Virgin de Asuncion Hogar Seguro, in “A Locked Door, a Fire, and 41 Girls Killed as Police Stood By.” (Ironically, the word “Seguro” translates as “safe.”) Fifty-six girls were locked in a room when fire broke out. Forty-one girls died while police stood outside the door for nine long minutes and failed to unlock it.

Trials have begun for officials held accountable. Can justice really be served? The girls are dead. It’s doubtful anything will change.

Here is the excerpt that will haunt me:

The deaths are a reflection of the cruel passage to adulthood for many young girls in Guatemala, a journey often marked by poverty, violence and desperation. The nation has one of the highest child pregnancy rates, and the homicide rate for women is among the worst in the world.

“To be a girl in Guatemala is a risk, it’s been this way for generations,” said Marwin Bautista, an under secretary in the Ministry of Social Welfare who oversees the group homes.

I posted previously about the fire, here, here, here, and here.

“Tragic” can’t begin to describe the fire and, undoubtedly, the reality of the girls’ lives before the fire. Sadness, outrage, despair. No word suffices.

Photo credit: NY Times, Daniele Volpe




New Yorker article on the Fire

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Must read. Francisco Goldman’s article in The New Yorker magazine: “The Story Behind the Fire That Killed Forty Teenage Girls in a Guatemalan Children’s Home.” Francisco Goldman, born in Massachusetts to a Guatemalan mother, is the author of the novel, The Long Night of White Chickens and the nonfiction account of the assassination of Guatemalan Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi, The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?

It feels as if time in Guatemala may now be measured “before the fire” and “after.”