Gas Pipeline Explosion in Tlahuelilpan, Mexico

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Gas Pipeline Explosion in Tlahuelilpan, Mexico

Citlalli Perez, News Editor

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On January 18, 2019, an underground pipeline transporting gasoline exploded in the town of Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo where at least 115 people were killed and dozens more injured. Mexican authorities blamed fuel thieves, who had illegally tapped the pipeline, which resulted in the gas explosion.

Why so many killed in this gruesome explosion? Word spread around the town of Tlahuelilpan about “free gas.” As many as some 900 people gathered up their empty barrels and started towards the spewing gasoline. In a matter of the seconds, an alleged windfall sent the gasoline to flames, engulfing and killing an initial 89 people and burning many more.

“It is so sad to see that so many people were injured and vanished into ashes at the moment of this pipeline explosion. I can’t imagine what the families of these people experienced when this tragedy occurred. I hope this will get taken cared of for the near future so it doesn’t happen again,” said Jaqueline Garcia-Polanco (‘20).

Though many citizens and governments are putting gas thieves to blame, others beg to differ while the victims themselves are the ones at blame to be part of the illegal activities of collecting taxed gas. Then again, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador believes that the government are the ones at fault. The victims were forced to participate in the events due to the poverty and unemployment caused by the government’s past policies.

Mr. López Aranda was elected the president of Mexico on December 1 and has been tested by the politics and people of Mexico if he’s credible in disastrous situations such as these.

“If they hadn’t died, it would’ve been a lot more complicated. Then the story would’ve been: Why didn’t you arrest them? You’re supposed to be tough on fuel theft, and these people were stealing fuel. But they died and it changed everything,” says Mr. López Aranda when confronting the issue of delivering the “toughness” a president should be doing while in office.

Hours after the explosion Mr. López Aranda visited the site, talked to local authorities and spoke with news outlets. In lengthy press-conferences Mr. López Aranda continued to say economic policies were at fault and that the people were, “…abandoned, the people were impoverished.”

“I strongly believe that it could have been avoided and that it’s a horrible tragedy that might help the country realize the lack of security and authorities that the country itself has,” said Cithaly Garcia-Mendez (‘20).

The performance of the nation’s security forces, in particular, has also come under scrutiny. Soldiers were dispatched on the 18 to create a cordon but were unable due to the outnumbered soldiers to outraged people.

While names and organizations have been thrown left to right as to who or what is to blame for the pipeline explosion, Mr. López Aranda will stop at nothing to prevent any further corruption to Mexico and will continue to keep his presidential promise of securing the country ’s prosperity and safety.

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