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Assistance or opportunism?

In the face of a tragedy, society was quick to mobilize and assist those in need, yet political parties have reacted slowly
Volunteers at collapsed building in Jojutla – Photo: Tony Rivera/EL UNIVERSAL
25/09/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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There's no comparison between the response of the Mexican society and its political class.

Immediately after the earthquake last Tuesday 19, several volunteers went to the collapsed buildings to rescue victims, young people began to direct the heavy traffic jams in the streets, and drivers offered a ride to hitchhikers who were left stranded after the paralysis of public transports. Tools were given to start removing rubble, and long human chains were collaborating in the effort.

There were no fights to determine who was helping whom better or more. Each citizen helped as they could, focused on saving the people trapped beneath debris, supporting those who had just lost their homes or a loved one; society organized quickly, without requiring the intervention of an authority.

Political parties, on the contrary, have reacted slowly. Several hours after the severe consequences of the earthquake were known in Mexico City, Morelos, and Puebla – adding to those of Oaxaca and Chiapas – they proposed to donate to reconstruction works a share of the resources they will obtain in 2018. Some offered 20%, others 25%, 50% and even 100% of the fund of almost 7 billion of Mexican pesos requested to the Federal Government. In a very childlike manner, they seemed to be engaged in a competition to see who donated more. This kind of attitude does little to lessen the gap between them and society.

Amidst the tragedy, they should focus instead on directly advocating for the victims. It's vital to know in which cases a government authority is liable for approving a construction in clear violation of the Law, or for not supervising adequately the projects in different areas of Mexico City.

Several of the collapsed buildings are no older than 10 years. There's no better way to honor the fallen than making sure those responsible pay for their deaths.

The difference between society and the political class is clear: the former acts out of a sense of unity, for the selfless desire to help; while the latter obeys to cold calculations and cost-benefit estimates. There's simply no comparison.

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